June 21, 1916 – May 14, 2020
June 21, 1916 – May 14, 2020
This is an Auto Obituary, my method of announcing my passing and saying “goodbye and thank you” to those of you who have been kind and considerate to me over so many years. I’m the last of the Murray family that arrived in Prince Rupert, direct from Cookstown N. Ireland on June 23, 1929. Together with parents Arthur and Jane (McGurk) we totalled seven in number, four girls, Mae, Kathleen (McClay), Philomena (Carew), Josephine (Burt) and two sons, yours truly and brother Shane. Yes, 1929 saw the onset of the “Great Depression” and hardly a time to be wandering the globe with a family seeking refuge from “the troubles” in N. Ireland and the hardships that situation was creating for all and sundry and Catholics in particular. Prince Rupert was chosen as our new home simply because father Arthur had lived and worked there as far back as 1910 and still had some pioneering friends with whom he kept in contact over the years. Frankly I am sure that there wasn’t a better place to land on on this side of the Atlantic than “good old Rupert”. I spent the next seventy years of my life there and in 1942 married Anne Byrne, daughter of Peter and Josephine Byrne who by coincidence happened to hail from Counties Wexford and Limerick respectively. Anne served the role of a devoted wife and mother until the age of 91 and after 65 years of married life – she is greatly missed by all of us.
We were blessed with three offspring: Joanne (Roberts) Prince Rupert, Maureen (McIntosh) Vancouver, and son John (Donna) Coombs, Vancouver Island. I could go into a listing of nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great grands, but I think I will resort to the oldie “too numerous to mention” and trust they will understand. A Father and a Mother could not have wished for more love and enjoyment than our children, their children and their children’s children brought us over the years – it was quite a gift.
As I depart this earth for good then, I want all of them to know that Pop and Granma felt so blessed to have them around us and to make us so proud of them. So, it’s been quite a journey and it’s said that anyone who lived in Rupert for seventy years following the “dirty thirties” should have a book in him or her and I share that sentiment. As for old Arthur here, it was just a case of not getting round to it and now as time is getting a bit short, the memories will just have to follow me to the crematorium and that’s a shame. So that’s it for now – it’s been quite an experience with the odd bump here and there but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Oh, by the way, cause of death, a severe “shortness of breath” – how’s that…
I would like to acknowledge and thank the loving care and attention given to me by all my caregivers at Point Grey Private Hospital in Vancouver. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to my favorite charity, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation (bcchf.ca).
Arthur was an integral part of the fabric of Prince Rupert during many changes. As a real Prince Rupert supporter he was involved in sports and the original “All Native Tournament”, baseball, and bringing in wrestling acts. He was also politically active serving time on city council and working for other civic and provincial projects. In business, at various times he owned a taxi company, a men’s wear store, and managed a building supply store and car dealership. Art also served in the home guard during the second world war here and his many stories about the war and other incidents were always colourfully told. He is the last of his cronies, Joe Scott, Hector McDonald, Jim Flaten, Gus Stromdahl, Alex Bill, “Frog” Letourneau, Geddes Large, and others and of course his adversary of many years, Peter Lester, all of whom had an influence on Prince Rupert’s development and history.
A Mass of Thanksgiving will be held at Church of the Annunciation in Prince Rupert at a later date.Obituary-
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