LOWVILLE, NY – Robert J. Murray passed away early Sunday morning, October 13, 2019, at his home.
Note to Readers: After our father had his stroke he wanted to write his own obituary. He felt obituaries sounded more like job resumes and did not present a picture of who the person really was. Our father was a unique individual- so have a seat with a wee dram of Scotch and love him for who he was.
Thank you for taking the time to read my run-down of the last 91 years. My story begins on March 6, 1928, when I, Robert Joseph Monroe Murray, was the first born of Robert and Mabel Monroe Murray. I was a surprise delivery during a visit to “the states” and spent my early life growing up in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, moving to the United States in later years. A stand-out football player during my school years at Ogdensburg Free Academy, I also began a lifetime of hunting and fishing under my grandfather’s tutelage. After attending Canton ATC and Clarkson College, I enlisted in the US Army, but my mother chewed me out for not enlisting in the Black Watch Highlanders where my relatives had served. I served on the troop transport ship “Zebulan Vance” and the hospital ship “Charles A Stafford” during the war years.
I met the love of my life, Eleanor Bertrand, and eloped on July 7, 1950. Boy, was her father mad – me a Protestant and her a Catholic, but we were in love.
While I professed my love for her, she tolerated my quirks and practical mishaps for 67 years.
For 39 years, Niagara Mohawk was employment until I retired as Chief Operator in the Hydro Electric Division in Malone, NY, moving to Lowville 2007.
I am a Life Member and Past Patron of the Masonic Order, an ordained Elder and Trustee of the Presbyterian Church and attended First Presbyterian Churches in Ogdensburg, Watertown, Childwold, and Ft. Worth, Texas.
Eleanor and I loved to travel, at least that’s what we told our children when we wanted to get away from them. We’ve visited most of the US states and Scotland three times to locate ancestors, mine Highlanders & her Lowlanders. We enjoyed treasured summers at Cranberry Lake and winters in Texas.
I guess you could say I am infamous for my sense of humor as my family and friends “roasted” me with memories: planting burdock branches in my neighbor’s garden, throwing wine mash to chickens (I swear I didn’t know it would make them drunk!), dangling a mouse over my daughters and friend’s heads while they slept, popping a bag behind Eleanor and catching her as she fell in fright, putting a ladder against my neighbor’s house to sing along with him when he was in the shower, etc, etc. Of course, there are numerous stories of hunts for the elusive white tail at the Birch Brook Hunting Club and the whoppers caught while on annual father-son fishing trips. There are many wild memories but I hereby categorically deny all such allegations that are conjecture and exaggeration. I am sure more tales will be swirled around at my passing.
I lost my dear Eleanor in October of 2017 but keeping the light alive for me are two daughters, Carol Murray, and Martha (and Fred Munk), both of Lowville and a son, R. Dave (and Choshee) Murray of Springtown, Texas, in addition eight grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
I was pre-deceased by my sister, Mabel Ann Monroe Murray Edgely, Brockville, Ontario, Canada, and a great-granddaughter, Britton Lee Murray Jackson, Texas. Nothing gave me more pleasure than to have big family gatherings with little ones running all over so I could look at Eleanor and say “See what you started!”.
And so, this is one old fart signing off on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019 – it’s been a great journey and I’m looking forward to what’s next.
Our Dad raised us with love, faith, and the words of Grantland Rice – “When the One Great scorer comes to write against your name, He marks – Not that you won or lost – But how you played the game.” Well played, Dad, well played.
There will be no calling hours because everyone who was important to our father in his life sent wonderful letters of memories to him for his 90th birthday, with many of them making the journey to visit him.
Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Juniper Fund of the Murray Clan Society to award scholarships to young people pursuing their Scottish Heritage: Juniper Fund, c/o Berks County Community Foundation, 237 Court Street, Reading, PA 19601-3924 or Childwold Memorial Presbyterian Church, Childwold NY.
The family would like to thank the caregivers who took wonderful care of Robert and not only tolerated his quirks and stories with love, but learned the art of the perfect Scotch toddy – Becky, Heather, Jeanette, Kim & Gloria – you are true angels who gave humor, comfort, and love to our father. And also earlier caregivers who we could never forget. Whether in a nursing home or private care, caregivers can make life worth living – not only for those they care for but the whole family as well.
An online message of condolence may be made at www.sundquistfh.com