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J. Donald Monroe

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Don Monroe, 83, a former Sun City West resident, died peacefully on November 21, 2021 in Hamden, CT, after a brief illness. Born and raised in Aberdeen, SD by the late Cecil and Grace Sherwood Monroe, Don was a high school track standout and attended college on a full track scholarship before joining the army. After his two years of service, Don taught on the Rosebud Reservation. While at the University of Iowa for graduate work in Special Education, Don met and married the love of his life, Virginia Grell, with whom he had two daughters, Shawnthea Monroe (Neil Mueller) and Kaia Monroe Rarick (Parrish). Don returned to South Dakota to take a professorship at the University of SD where he stayed until his retirement in 2000 as a full professor. His 28 years of service to the university included founding the Southeast South Dakota Activity Center for special needs adults and a 15-year tenure as Associate Dean of the School of Education where he oversaw student teaching. Upon retirement, Don and Virginia lived in Taiwan for two and a half years where they taught English to educators and traveled extensively, then relocated to Sun City where he was active in the Westernaires, Prides, and Theatre West. To his family and friends, Don will be remembered for his love of travel, his competitive gaming spirit, dedication to his family, and his raucous laugh. Don leaves behind his wife and partner in adventure of 57 years, his two adoring children, and 5 grandchildren, who dearly loved their “Opa.” A memorial service is being planned for a later time. Arrangements in care of Beecher & Bennett Funeral Home, Hamden, CT. To send condolences, visit