Frances Eleanor McMurray passed away peacefully on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2008, at the age of 96. Frances was born on March 16, 1912, in Santa Ana, Calif., and spent most of her life within 50 miles of that location. Her parents, John Harrington and Laura Chamberlaine, were married in 1905 and had three children; Frances was the middle child.
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During her early years she attended school in the Los Angeles area and eventually became a skilled typist and computer operator. She worked for several years at Columbia Pictures Studios in Hollywood during the heyday of the motion picture industry.
On Nov. 17, 1945, she married Herschel Scott McMurray, a dental surgeon with an established practice in Pasadena. Frances became a homemaker and, in 1950, mother of their daughter, Frances Sharon-Ann. Throughout her married life, Frances was a true helpmate to Scott, occasionally assisting him in his dental office and, in the later years of their marriage, caring for him as his health declined.
After Scott's death in 1992, Frances continued to reside in California until she decided in 1998 to move to Bozeman to be near her daughter and son-in-law. She lived for seven years in a condo on the Bridger Creek golf course and then in 2005 moved into an apartment at Aspen Pointe at Hillcrest, where she lived until her death.
Frances was initiated into PEO, Chapter CM in 1961 while living in Pasadena. She twice served as president of that chapter and also as a reciprocity president. Later, when she and Scott retired to Laguna Hills, she served as president of the PEO Group in Leisure World. PEO always meant a great deal to Frances, and she remained active in that organization throughout her life. Her other interests included reading, crossword puzzles and travel. Every summer the family would make a car trip, sometimes to Canada to see Scott's relatives, sometimes to the East Coast to visit historical sites, and sometimes to National Parks to take in the beauty of Nature. She and Scott also enjoyed cruising and made voyages to Alaska, to Australia, and along the Danube.
In Bozeman, in addition to her PEO activities, she was also an underwriter of the Bozeman Symphony Society and a supporter of the Gallatin Valley Food Bank and of the Heart of the Valley Humane Society. She was a longtime Presbyterian and, since moving to Bozeman, a member of First Presbyterian Church.
When people speak of Frances, two words are repeated with regularity - "gracious" and "lady." These sum up her nature and reflect the selflessness and kindness of her personality. She will be sorely missed by her loved ones and by all her many friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Scott; her parents; and by her siblings and their spouses, Richard (Gertrude) Harrington and Laura (Merritt) Nettleton.
She is survived by her adored cat, Princess; by her daughter and son-in-law, Sharon and Michael Beehler; and by numerous nieces and nephews.
If desired, memorials in her name may be made to Heart of the Valley Humane Society; to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital; or to a charity of the donor's choice.
A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Monday, Sept. 8, at First Presbyterian Church in Bozeman.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service; www.dokkennelson.com.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle from Sept. 5 to Sept. 7, 2008