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Long Island sports booster Emilia Munser, dead at 89

While she wasn't an athlete or a coach, Emilia Munser was a fixture on the Long Island sports scene.

The diminutive native of Puerto Rico was a regular for three decades at the Nassau Coliseum, where she cheered her beloved Islanders on to four Stanley Cups. In 1990, she joined the Long Island Junior Soccer League's hall of fame.

While her husband, Alex, organized golf outings to raise money for the league, Munser compiled a monthly newsletter packed with information on thousands of players and dozens of teams throughout Suffolk, Nassau and Queens, said Munser's daughter Edna Ault, of Ossining.

"At first, it was a little newsletter," Ault said. "By the time she left, it was up to 30 pages."

Munser, an interior designer and former resident of Commack and Mount Sinai, died on Jan. 18 at her Southbury, Conn., home. She was 89. Ault said the cause of death was unclear.

Born in 1920 in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, Emilia Vazquez moved to St. Thomas as a teenager and worked as a secretary for the governor of the Virgin Islands, her daughter said. There, she married a U.S. Marine, Stanley Rice, from Denver.

Rice died two years after the birth of their daughter, Edna.

The young widow joined her sisters in New York, settling first in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She met Alex Munser at a gathering when her date stood her up, Ault said.

The couple married in 1960. Munser, who was known as Emy, taught at the Willsey Institute of Art and Interior Design in Hicksville and operated her own business. Alex Munser died in 2006.

She became involved in youth soccer when her son, Robert, began playing the sport. Munser served on the league's board of directors, said current president Addie Mattei-Iaia. "Emy stood out as a person who truly cared and was always there for the children," she said.

The Munsers were Islanders season-ticket holders and traveled with the team's booster club throughout the U.S. and Canada to see the club play. Munser was in the stands with her son when the Isles won their first Stanley Cup in 1980.

"She got home at 3 o'clock in the morning," Ault said, "because she partied with the team."

In addition to her daughter, Munser is survived by her son, Robert Munser, of Boca Raton, Fla., and two grandchildren. Munser was buried Monday in Calverton National Cemetery.

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