McMurrey, Sr of Houston, Texas, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and friend, peacefully passed away on Friday evening, March 7th, 2014.
Charles, also known as Sonny, Charlie or Mac, was born on September 7, 1923, at his home in Coldspring, Texas, to Charles Stewart McMurrey and Carrie Belle McCardell McMurrey. Raised in Oakhurst, he played marbles, tops, rode horses, and explored the forest every afternoon with his 22 rifle and his dog, Max.
His mother, a teacher, was his most ardent educator. His father, a rancher, taught him the business of raising cattle and growing cotton. Eventually his interests turned to Thomas Edison and energy. He wired his small town's phone system so that he could talk to his girlfriend and later expanded it to other homes in Oakhurst. During high school, under the Rural Electric Administration, he wired homes to earn college funds.
He attended one semester at Texas A&M University before enlisting in the Army Signal Corps on December 7, 1942, and served in the European Theater. He was a part of the D-Day, Normandy Invasion, and landed at Point du Hoc with war correspondent Ernie Pile in his landing craft. His favorite story of that day was about getting a supply truck onto the beach. Enemy fire disabled the throttle, so in the dark of night he crawled out onto the fender and worked the accelerator while another soldier drove the truck through the gunfire.
His three year tour of Europe during the war was a real awakening for this young country boy. Later in life, he wrote his war memoir, One Soldier's War, which is in the reference library at the Memorial de Caen War Museum in Normandy, France. He received a formal thank you for his service by the French Government in a ceremony at the Veteran's Administration facility in Houston in 2000.
Upon his return, he enrolled at Sam Houston Teacher's College where it was in his chemistry class that he found the love of his life, Mary Lee Marshall. She was his girlfriend and wife for the next 66 years. While at Sam Houston, he also discovered the science of geology which led him to the University of Houston to complete his degree.
Mac began his professional career for Gulf Oil as an exploration geologist where, after 4 years, he was recruited by Claude Hamill of Hamill Resources as an assistant geologist. In his more than 40 years of service he steered this independent oil & gas company through more than 500 productive wells and into the Hamill Foundation. At the time of death he was Chairman Emeritus of the Hamill Foundation which donates generously to many charities in the Houston community.
Two of the truths he maintained all of his life were: "If it is to be, it's up to me" and "Never, Ever, Ever Give Up!" These beliefs served him well to the very end.
Above all, he loved his wife and family. Growing up as a single child, after his older sister's death at age 9, he came to understand and cherish the value of family relationships. Mac and Lee were a formidable team, expressing love, integrity and perseverance to provide a loving home. They spent many wonderful weekends at the family ranch and summer vacations to the national parks. Their days were filled in with baseball, scouts, ballet and homework. They put their family first and were their children's greatest fans.
Charles is preceded in death by his sister Willie Beatrice McMurrey and his parents. He is survived by his wife, Mary Lee Marshall McMurrey and their four children: son, Charles D. McMurrey, Jr. (wife Annette) and their two daughters, Laura McNamara (husband Mark) and Anna McBride (husband Daniel); daughter, Janet McMurrey Tallichet (husband Henri) and their two children, Carrie Tallichet Smith (husband Michael) and Jules Tallichet; son, James M. McMurrey (wife Laurie), and their three children, Le'Ann Whitley (husband Will), Marshall McMurrey (wife Santana) and Melissa Patronella (husband Nicholas); and son, John R. McMurrey (wife Jenyriza), and their son Jenico McMurrey. Great grandchildren include Nathan and Brynlee McNamara, Adley and Brooks McBride, and Madison and Alexis Whitley.
The family would like to express their sincere love and appreciation for Charles' caregivers of many years, Mr. Shawn Riverman and Mrs. Alice Robertson. They not only cared for him but gave their hearts and love to him every day.
The family would also like to extend their gratitude to the many friends and healthcare workers who have blessed and surrounded them with love and support throughout his illness.
The family celebrated his life Tuesday, March 11th at a family service with interment at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Coldspring, Texas.
A Memorial Service to celebrate his life will be held Saturday, March 15, 2014, 10:00 a. m., at The Hallmark, 4718 Hallmark Drive, Houston, TX 77056.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Charles' memory may be made to
Published in Houston Chronicle from Mar. 11 to Mar. 14, 2014