George Ray (Mac) McMurray died peacefully in his sleep July 8, at Rising Mountains Assisted Living Center in Bigfork, Montana. He was born October 14, 1925, in Grinnell, Iowa, to Arthur (Toddy) and Harriet McMurray. He attended schools in Brooklyn, Iowa, and graduated from North High School in Des Moines.
After graduation he enlisted in the army at 17 and served in Patton’s 3rd Army Blackhawk Division. He was a Browning automatic rifleman and was field promoted to Sergeant and squad leader. He received many decorations and was on a ship on his way to Japan when the war ended.
After the Army, he attended Drake University, studied French in Montreal, and then to Mexico City to study Spanish. Next he attended the University of Nebraska where he earned his masters and his PhD in Spanish and French with a minor in German. While in Nebraska he met and fell in love with Doris Carlson of Choteau, Montana. They were married in 1950 and celebrated 62 years of marriage. Doris passed on July 31 ,2013. Mac taught at WSU in Pullman WA, U of Nevada at Reno and retired from Colorado State University as a Spanish professor from 1960 to 1993.
As well as being admired for his knowledge, he was loved by his students for his kind heart and generosity. He often just ¨happened to have¨ extra copies of books he would be using in classes and gave them to students. He was a great mentor and advisor to many graduate students. His legacy will continue at CSU with the generous donation that was given to the Languages Department in his name. He is remembered very fondly and will be missed.
After retirement he taught briefly at Carroll College in Helena and U of Montana in Missoula. They were members of various organizations, but especially the Montana Club of Helena and the Montana Historical society.
Mac and Doris spent many summers at the family ranch on Deep Creek west of Choteau, and winters in Helena after retirement with their beloved pets. Mac was an avid reader and book club leader. He authored four books. He was a wonderful pianist and could literally play hundreds and hundreds of songs of the 20s, 30s, and 40s without music. He had his own style and loved jazz. He shared his love of music by playing at retirement homes and nursing homes in Helena, Choteau, and surrounding areas. He loved foreign languages and could converse in at least 6 languages. He learned Swedish in his eighties and traveled there to visit Doris’s relatives.
He and Doris had no children. He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Doris, and sister Doris. He is survived by brother Robert McMurray of Pennsylvania; nieces Marj (Brad) Nelson (Bigfork), Dr. Mary Ann Carlson (Columbia Falls), Pam McKay (New Mexico), Kim De Wees (New Mexico), and Mary Elizabeth Lyon (Pennsylvania); nephews Martin Carlson (Alaska), Marc Carlson (Wisconsin), and Locke McMurray (New York); and his special dog friend, Oscar, survives.
He leaves a legacy of love and kindness. He always helped other residents by helping them get their walkers or wheeling them back to their rooms.
Mac was cremated and a memorial service was held at Rising Mountains, Coverdell Rd, Bigfork, at 2 p.m. on July 16. His ashes will be spread at a later date at the family ranch.
Memorials could be made to the Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp, 603 E Main, Kalispell, MT 59901or a charity of choice.