John Murray(1920 - 2013)

John Murray

John Murray, a 90 year resident of Seattle, died peacefully Thursday, November 14th from

pneumonia. John was born August 31, 1920 in Seattle, Washington, the son of Irish immigrants who arrived in 1907 from County Down. In his youth John learned to swim in Lake Washington, played endlessly in Leschi Park and hitched free rides on the Yesler St. Cable Car.

A 1938 graduate of Garfield High during which time the Great Depression left memories of soup kitchens and as he recounted, "people did without." To work downtown as a bellhop was the goal so John, Tommy De Santo and Mike Metzker devised a plan. They pooled their resources and purchased a green pin stripe suit, all took turns wearing the suit to interviews and all were hired as bellhops! John joined the Civilian Conservation Corps and built logging roads near Yakima, assembled the last Clipper Ship at Boeing, and enlisted in the Navy in 1942 serving as an Aviation Ordnanceman with CASU (F) 47 on Guadalcanal, Bougainville and Saipan Islands during World War II. Returning from War, John went to work for the Postal Service and enjoyed playing second base for the Cedar Tree softball team, golfing at Foster, and a lifelong passion for crossword puzzles, completing NY Times puzzles into his 90s. In 1956 he married Barbara Fountain in Spokane, Washington and they raised three children. John retired in 1974, studied Italian at Pike Place Market Senior Center, and traveled to Italy to spend hours admiring Michelangelo's statue David. In his later years John was blessed by the skilled and compassionate doctors and staff at the University of Washington Medical Center, including Dr. Rick Arnold and Dr. Mark Meissner; Dr. George Min and staff at the Wound Care Center at Northwest Hospital; John's caregivers at the Good Shepherd Adult Family Home and the wonderful services of James and his staff at Tri-County Cabulance.

He is survived by his loving family; daughter Shannon Russeff, sons Vincent and William Murray, daughter in law Beth Murray and Grandchildren Nicole Russeff and Hannah Murray.

A celebration of his life will be held Saturday December 14th 1-4PM at the Graham Visitor Center Washington Park Arboretum. Interment at Tahoma National Cemetery with military funeral honors to be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Northwest Harvest and the University of Washington Medical Center. Please sign John's guestbook at

Published in The Seattle Times on Nov. 24, 2013