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Greatest generation marble

image L-R: Rey McMunn (head of installations); Mark McMunn (head of operations); Joe Centeno (head of production) of M&M Marble

SAN ANTONIO - Tom Brokaw wrote a book called The Greatest Generation. It’s about those who came back from World War II and built so much of post-war America.







    William McMunn, Sr., was one of them. He enlisted in the Navy at age 36 in 1942. Despite his age, the Navy needed skilled craftsmen to serve in the Seabees (construction battalion).
    After his training in Rhode Island, McMunn’s Seabee unit was sent to Iwo Jima in February 1945. Their mission was to build the runways and infrastructure for the B-29s used on the bombing runs over mainland Japan. But first, the Marines had to capture the island.
    The Marines landed around 0900. The Japanese didn’t attack right away (they were waiting until the beach was clogged with people and equipment with no place to run or dig in), so the Seabees were sent ashore. McMunn was on this first wave when the Japanese attacked.
    The battle of Iwo Jima raged for over a month. Armed with only a .45 caliber pistol, McMunn somehow survived and returned to San Antonio to work for the Vermont Marble Company after the war, the company for which McMunn worked prior to enlisting.
    Vermont Marble decided to decrease its footprint in Texas, but still needed folks to install the products they made back in Vermont.
    Sensing the opportunity, McMunn started M&M Marble in 1950, the other two original employees were his wife Hattie and son, William, Jr. “M&M” stand for McMunn and McMunn - the husband and wife team.
    (In a case of déjà vu all over again, William, Jr., had to serve in the Korean War, missing about two years from the company.)
    William Sr. held the reigns until Valentine’s Day 1967, when he suffered a stroke and died two weeks later. The company went to Hattie and William, Jr. Hattie continued to work for M&M until 1986.
    William Jr. ran the company until 2007. He is still listed as the president.
    Enter the third generation of McMunn: William’s son Mark.
    The UTSA grad planned on going into banking since he was a finance major. Several other family members worked there, as did Mark during time off from school.
    After a slow economy in the late 1970s and early 1980s, things picked up nationwide. San Antonio businesses could afford having marble everywhere, which bode well for M&M.
    Mark’s banking plans were changed to now work for his grandfather’s family business in 1984. He entered at the ground level, doing the grunt work that comes with installing marble.
    “I enjoyed working with my hands,” he said.
    Now, as the vice-president, Mark continues the legacy of William Sr. who taught them, “No matter what price you give the client, he always expects a first class job.”
    M&M’s clientele is 70 percent commercial and 30 percent residential, and has an impressive litany of work, it’s done not only locally, but also hither and yon. A 42,000-sf “house” in San Antonio is not too shabby. Neither is the 27,000-sf mansion of famed uranium king Charlie Steen, built in 1965 in Reno, NV.
    M&M can name USAA, Trinity University, Northstar Mall and Incarnate Word as former clients.
    “We’ll go anywhere,” Mark said, although there is plenty of work in San Antonio to keep M&M busy.
    Mark’s older brother and sister also work for M&M. As do two of his nephews, who have shown a real interest in making it a career, perhaps someday becoming the fourth generation of McMunns to head the firm.
    From the greatest to the latest, M&M Marble continues to hit the beach with its line-up of stone products and be a part of building San Antonio.
    M&M Marble is a granite/marble fabrication/installation company in San Antonio. -dsz

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Author Info
Dan Zulli dan@constructionnews.net