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William Murtagh

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William Murtagh Obituary

William O.

William O. Murtagh of Toledo, Ohio died peacefully March 11, 2013, in the arms of his loving wife.

Bill was born April 5, 1927, to Alma (Gerity) and Owen Murtagh. A lifelong Toledo resident, he belonged to Gesu Parish and was proud to be in one of the first graduating classes at Gesu Catholic School.

Bill graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1944, where he was very involved in the school's sports and activities. He was Sophomore Class President, Student Council Vice President, played tackle for four years on the football team, was a member of the Glee Club, and had the lead in the class play, Old Doc. "Murt," as he was lovingly called, maintained his high school friendships throughout his life. After retirement, his friends and he gathered weekly for a "Wednesday Luncheon Group" to celebrate 60 years of fellowship.

He entered the University of Notre Dame in 1944, but his education was interrupted by World War II during which he served in the U.S. Navy. At Notre Dame, he was the Vice President of his sophomore class. Always a creative entrepreneur, he hired Lawrence Welk and his band from New York to play at the Sophomore Cotillion and started his own business manufacturing and selling Notre Dame ashtrays. He graduated in 1949 with a degree in business and a lifelong love for the university and Irish football. He spent the next 61 years attending almost every Notre Dame home game and supporting the university passionately. He took great satisfaction in supplying the Notre Dame Bookstore with his Gerity Products gold four-leaf clover giftware. He also designed custom memorabilia for the Notre Dame football team and coaches Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine, and Lou Holtz.

Bill's strong work ethic began at an early age. At 9 years old, he started working in his father's grocery store distributing handbills after school. He continued to work for his father seven days a week throughout high school and college. Following the death of his uncle, James Gerity Jr., Bill, together with his brother Jim, managed the family's five companies. These included Gerity Broadcasting, Radio, and Television; Lee Travel Agency; Gerity Cable; Gerity-Schultz Diecasting; and Gerity Products, Inc. He was known throughout the community for his honesty, his integrity, and his outgoing, friendly demeanor, which enabled him to turn any stranger into a friend.

He married his high school sweetheart, Joanne Sullivan. He appreciated her steadfast devotion, compassion, and strength, especially in the last years of his life. They were married for 62 years and had four children. He always encouraged his children and grandchildren to work hard and pursue their dreams.

He joined Inverness Club and the Toledo Club at the age of 21 and remained a member for 65 years. He was also a member of the Royal Poinciana Club in Naples, FL. Full of creativity, Bill was an artist who enjoyed painting and drawing in his free time. He will always be remembered for his spontaneity, his youthful spirit, his love of fun, and the sparkle in his blue Irish eyes.

Bill is survived by his wife, Joanne Murtagh; his children, Dr. William (Barb) Murtagh, Dr. Daniel (Stephanie) Murtagh, Sr., Molly (Geoffrey) Meyers, Dr. Jennifer Murtagh (Richard Brunner); his grandchildren, Sean, Meagan, and Colin Murtagh, Dr. Daniel Jr. (Mary) and Patrick Murtagh, Amy, Geoffrey Jr., Thomas, and Jack Meyers, William, Robert, and James Brunner; his sister, Eileen (George) Korhumel; his sister-in-law, Janet Murtagh, and many loving nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Alma and Owen Murtagh; his brother, James Murtagh; his sister, Alma Kenney, and brother-in-law, James Kenney.

The Murtagh family would like to express their deepest appreciation to Bill's many caregivers for their kindness and compassion, especially Phyllis, Theresa, Mike, Betty, Lou, Linda, Tammy, Cynthia, and Crystal.

The family will receive guests at the Walker Funeral Home, 5155 Sylvania Ave. (west of Corey Rd.) on Friday, March 15, from 3:00-7:30 p.m. A funeral mass will be celebrated at Gesu Catholic Church, 2049 Parkside Blvd. on Saturday, March 16 at 10:30 a.m. Memorial contributions may be made to Central Catholic High School or the Northwest Ohio Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Online condolences may be shared at

Published in Toledo Blade from Mar. 13 to Mar. 15, 2013
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