He’s been privy to more top secrets than Jason Bourne. He recalls flying intelligence missions off foreign coasts, prepping helicopters for the Iran hostage mission, and the fall of the Berlin Wall (He has a piece of it on his desk.).
While it may sound like a lot of intrigue, deep down, Ray Muench ’53 is just an average guy. He married his college sweetheart, Joyce, in 1961, after being awarded his Navy wings. Today, the couple lives in Virginia, a place they’ve called home for 36 years.
“We love it here,” Muench says. “We’ve lived here longer than we’ve lived anywhere in our life.”
At Gilmour, Muench and his classmates took classes six days a week. “Back then, we went to school on Saturdays,” he says. And while he enjoyed Br. Ambrose’s physics class, it was Wednesday’s arts class that left a lasting impression on Muench.
“That education became big in my life,” Muench says, “because after I left Gilmour, I was in technology for the rest of my life.”
Muench was always headed that way. He had a natural knack for science. After Gilmour, Muench received his bachelor’s in physics from Villanova University and never looked back.
During the Vietnam War, he was stationed with the U.S. Navy in the Gulf of Tonkin. When the war ended, the Navy, enamored with Muench’s computer skills, wanted to hang on to him. He stayed with them for 21 years.
The Navy sent him to graduate school in Monterey, Calif., where he studied electrical engineering. From there, it was on to the University of Florida, where he studied systems engineering.
Muench retired from the Navy in 1980. When he did, his specialization in communications systems and signal processing put him in great demand. He joined Booz Allen Hamilton as director of electronics equipment development and worked on government contracts until 1990.
That’s when Muench’s career took a highly classified turn. He took a job as a principal scientist at EG&G—a national defense contractor founded by Doc Edgerton, Kenneth Germeshausen and Herbert Grier, the MIT professors behind the Manhattan Project.
“I did a lot of work in foreign intelligence,” Muench says. “A lot of the work was so highly classified. My movements were restricted and tracked by computer. Any trips outside of the U.S. had to be pre-approved by several intelligence agencies…I just attribute it to having the right background at the right time.”
You have been married to Joyce for 54 years and have four kids and four grandkids. How has family enhanced your life?
You look at what mistakes you made and try to mentor your children accordingly, often making more mistakes. The real fun is with the grandchildren. They are so eager to learn.
How do you spend your time?
Family! Enjoying and attempting to nurture our grandchildren and laughing with our kids at their tribulation of now being parents. Secondly, keeping abreast of world events through sources outside of the U.S. Our media, which has become very unreliable, has lost respect throughout the world.
What’s the best thing about Virginia?
Virginia embodies this country’s beauty of nature and formulation of much of this country’s history.
What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
“People I’ve Met” by our good friend and author of several books Sir Robert Lima, Ph.D. OIC.
You took a cruise on the Queen Mary in July. What was that like?
The great ocean liners are disappearing. You step back into the faux luxury of the 1940s. It was great fun.