W. Michael Murray

W. Michael Murray

Des Moines

William Michael (Mike) Murray passed away on September 6, 2013 at Senior Haven in Portland, Oregon.

Mike was born on December 28, 1947 in Ottumwa, Iowa to Thelma Murray (Hart) and William B. Murray. He graduated from Ottumwa High School and went on to be the first person in his family to go to college. He attended the University of Iowa where he earned his B.A. and ultimately his Juris Doctorate. He married Ann Murray (Wawzonek) on October 11, 1973 and they remained loyal partners until her death in 2008. Ann and Mike lived in Des Moines after college where they raised their two children together. Mike opened his law practice in 1978 and specialized in Worker's Compensation and Personal Injury Law.

Mike was a witty, intelligent and compassionate person. Most importantly he was a loving father, husband and son. He enjoyed athletics and was proud to have run the Drake Marathon. He also loved swimming. He worked as a life guard during summers in Ottumwa and was proud to have saved a boy's life. He was a lifelong fan of the Braves (both Milwaukee and Atlanta) and a dedicated Hawkeye. Human Rights were important to him. Prior to starting a family, he served as President of the Iowa Chapter of the ACLU and was staff counsel for the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. He also ran for State Representative in 1980. Most recently, he was delighted when he learned DOMA was overturned. Mike retired and moved to Portland in 2008 to be closer to his daughter while he battled Parkinson's disease. He continued to be active and enjoyed taking art classes, traveling and singing in a choir.

Mike is survived by his daughter, Kit Murray and her partner Pam McElwee, and their children, Eleanor and Lewis, of Portland, OR; his son, Dan Murray of Des Moines, IA; his brother, Pat Murray, and his wife Julie, and Pat's son Matt, of Ottumwa, IA; his sister, Tina Housley of Phoenix, AZ; his uncle, Rodney Hart of Des Moines; his sister-in-law, Lucy Thompson, her husband, Steve, and their children, Stacia and David of Bethlehem, PA; his sister-in-law, Mary Lou Kuehster, her husband, Ted, and their son, Adam, of Centennial, CO; He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife.

The memorial service will be held on March 8, 2014 at 1:00pm at Dunn's of Iles Funeral Homes with reception to follow. Memorial contributions may be made to the ACLU of Iowa or The Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Published in Des Moines Register on Oct. 13, 2013