James J. Murray Everyone's friend (yes, even his son-in-laws) James Joseph Murray passed away at home on December 30th from complications of congestive heart failure.
Jim was born in February 1922 to James and Helen Murray five and a half years behind his sister Carol. Growing up in Depression era Bakersfield, Jim helped in his fathers laundry business. His stories about old downtown Bakersfield with its myriad of tunnels, occasional cathouses and authorities that tolerated it all made for fascinating listening. Being a child of the Depression the extent of his travels were the yearly weekend trip he would make to the central coast with his father. Jim graduated from Kern County Union High School in 1940. He then attended Bakersfield College for a time and held various jobs until World War II sent him on the great adventure of his life.
Jim enlisted in the Army Air Force and after training in various airfields in the States, became one of a ten man crew and flew a brand new B-24 Liberator bomber to Great Britain. They were assigned to the 392nd Bombardment Group in the Eight Air Force. Jim served with distinctions as a ball turret/waist gunner and assistant radio operator. His crew received extra training to become a lead crew. This meant extra danger because the Nazis would target lead airplanes to disrupt the American formations. He flew from August of 1944 until he finished his tour of 30 missions in March of 1945.
In the spring of 1945 he returned home and resumed his relationship with Miss Carmen Bertolucci. After a lengthy courtship they married in the summer of 1950. Carmen gave birth to three girls, Germaine (1953), Kristin (1955), and Laura (1959). They were Jim's pride and joy!
The girls have wonderful memories of Jim and Carmen. The yearly summer vacations to Carpinteria were the best! First were the trips with the girls and good friends, and then the grandkids and more good friends. They won't forget Jim sitting for hours in his beach chair at waters edge wearing his ugly bucket hat - the one that should have been disposed of decades ago. There were the annual trips to Las Vegas with Lamel and Boots Johns, and whoever else was lucky enough to be invited. Jim kept a never-ending supply of two-dollar bills in his pocket for anyone who would provide him service. There was also the tennis group that played regularly at Stockdale Country Club and the trips that the group would take. So many great stories, so many great memories.
Jim had a love for classic cars. Over the years he would buy them, sell them, or have them abducted by his daughters. He loved maintaining and driving his last car - a powder blue 1966 Mustang convertible.
Along with all the good times Jim did find time for work. He spent 40 years at S.A. Camp Company, first working for Saul (S.A.), and then James Sr. Jim worked with growers at a time when the Camp Company financed many of them. He traveled extensively with James Sr. The two men developed a very close relationship over the years becoming more like family than business associates. After James Sr.'s passing, Jim and Carmen remained close friends with his wife Betty.
Jim never lost his love of agriculture. After his active retirement from S.A. Camp, he worked in the agricultural real estate business. He became a regular at various morning coffee shops in the area. He maintained a keen interest in the happenings of the Ag community until the end of his life.
Jim lost Carmen in the fall of 2010, but continued to be devoted to his daughters and 9 grand children. Jim Murray made many friends throughout his long life and continued to make them until the very end. He had that rare ability to make a person feel better about oneself, and in turn life in general. His passing leaves a hole in our hearts and we will miss him greatly.
Jim is survived by his sister Carol Rummel, daughters Germaine Echenique, Kristin (John) Moore, Laura (Mike) Etcheverry, and nine grandchildren Jeffrey (Michelle), Julia (Greg), Rose (Adam), Jennifer, John, Amy, Emily, David, and Christine.
The family would like to give special thanks to Around the Clock Care (Mary, Betty, Danielle, Amber, and Delores), Paula Badasci (Jim's P.T.), Jim and Beverly Camp, Laticia Delcid, Craig Kelley, and Doctors Laughlin, Peinado, and Singh.
Funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, January 6th at 10 am preceded by a Rosary at St. Francis of Assisi Church, Bakersfield, CA.
A memorial contribution may be made to Kern Community Foundation in Jim's name, JJ's Legacy, St. Francis Church, or the
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