George Ray “Mac” McMurray died peacefully in his sleep July 8, 2018, at Rising Mountains Assisted Living Center in Bigfork.
He was born Oct. 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, Iowa.
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 Ph.D. 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 Washington, University of Nevada at Reno and retired from Colorado State University at Fort Collins, Colorado as a Spanish professor. He was a wonderful professor and much loved by his students.
After retirement he taught briefly at Carroll College in Helena and University 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, ‘30’s, 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 six languages. He learned Swedish in his 80s and traveled there to visit Doris’s relatives.
They 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 of Bigfork, Dr. Mary Ann Carlson of Columbia Falls, Pam McKay of New Mexico, Kim De Wees of New Mexico, and Mary Elizabeth Lyon of Pennsylvania; nephews, Martin Carlson of Alaska, Marc Carlson of Wisconsin, and Locke McMurray of New York. He also leave behind his special dog friend Oscar.
Mac was a weekly visitor to Norm’s News for his chocolate milk shake. He was a true gentlemen and kind-hearted to the very end. The family thanks all the staff, past and present, for their special care and love for the past two plus years at Rising Mountains.
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 will be held at 2 p.m. July 16 at Rising Mountains, Coverdell Road, Bigfork. 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 St., Kalispell, MT 59901, or a charity of choice.