Owen L. Murray
1940 - 2020
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Owen L. Murray
December 2, 1940 - October 14, 2020
Resident of Concord, CA
Born Kenneth Robert Medlenka to Frank and Dorothy (Kell) Medlenka on December 2, 1940 in Culver City. Owen was adopted in infancy by loving parents Owen and Celeste Murray of Oakland and reared there, spending summers in Cazadero. On October 12, 1963 he was married to 2nd Lt. Ruth E. Redding of Concord, at Fort McClellan, Anniston, AL. They have five children of their marriage: Kenneth Murray, William Murray, Karen Redding, Christopher Murray and Margaret Ownby and five grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Beverly Claire.
Owen graduated from St. Cyril's School and St. Elizabeth High School; and earned an Associates of Arts degree at Diablo Valley College; a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration/Economics at St. Mary's College; and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree at John F. Kennedy University School of Law. Owen attended many other colleges and universities where he mostly studied languages and science, including Russian language at Rostov State University, Rostov-na-Donu in Southern Russia.
He proudly served his country for four years in Strategic Air Command, U.S.A.F., mostly the 320th Bombardment Group at Mather A.F.B. He then worked for Pacific Telephone Co. in various technical positions for six years. After returning to college and law school, he was admitted to the State Bar of California. On January 7, 1985, Owen was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States. During his law career, spent mostly in Sonoma County, where he practiced civil law from his Guerneville office, he often sat as a municipal court judge by appointment, a volunteer position which he greatly enjoyed. One of his favorite stories was the day that he appeared as an attorney at 8:30AM, sat as a judge at 9:00AM, then later, in a separate matter, took his seat as on of 13 jurors, on an all-attorney jury, in a civil case. It is the only time in history of American jurisprudence that a jury was composed entirely of practicing attorneys.
Owen was an avid outdoorsman, and a serious conservationist. He greatly enjoyed fly fishing for trout, especially on small streams, hunting deer, wild boar and waterfowl, and was successful on a Montana buffalo hunt. He was a member of Wilderness Unlimited, a club for outdoor enthusiast. He and Ruth also prospected for gold during their trips throughout the Northwest. Together they traveled extensively, first throughout the entire United States and Western Canada, and later they spent several months between 2002 and 2004 touring and visiting friends in European Russia, from St. Petersburg to the Ural Mountains to the Asov Sea region and Krasnodar in the south.
At home in the Russian River area, Owen was active in activities at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Guerneville, serving as Lector and Eucharistic Minister for many years. His service to the Catholic Church continued at St. Agnes Church, where he served again as Eucharistic Minister, as well as on the Pastoral Council, and helped with various tasks at the church office, and a member of Queen of All Saints Church. A 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus Todos Santos Assembly 2286. He also served the Diocese of Oakland as an ecclesiastical notary, dealing with marriage annulment matters.
A believer in public service, Owen served as officer and/or director on the governing boards of many governmental, quasi-governmental and non-profit corporations. He had 22 years service with the Russian River Fire District where he served as dispatcher, firefighter, engineer, safety officer, investigator and attorney. This service also included several years with Sonoma County Fire Investigation Task Force, as well as being Fire Marshall of the Cazadero Community Services District and, for 19years, being director of Pole Mountain Fie Lookout, Inc., which operated a forest fire lookout near Jenner.
He was a Rotarian for more than 31 years, and a Paul Harris Fellow, first in Guerneville Rotary Club, where he served as treasurer for twelve years, and later, to the time of his death, in the Clayton Valley-Concord Sunrise Rotary Club. In his later years Owen enjoyed auto racing and was a member of the Sports Car Club of America, San Francisco Region, serving as Communicator, Registrar, Course Marshall, and twice as Chief of Sound Control.
Although Owen was forced to retire early due to serious health issues, he kept active in several organization in Sonoma County, and this continued after he and Ruth moved to Concord in 1994. In 1998, he and Ruth began home-hosting Russian businessmen, and later some of their sons, in programs operated by the Center for Citizen Initiatives in conjunction with local Rotary Clubs, San Francisco State University and other groups devoted to aiding in the democratization and economic development of Russia. Together they hosted a total of 59 businessmen, professionals, musicians and four university students. Owen and Ruth were, in turn, hosted by many of their former guests while they were in Russia.
Visitation will be from 1:00 to 3:00PM, Tuesday, October 20, 2020 with a Vigil Service at 3:00PM, at Ouimet Bros. Concord Funeral Chapel, 4125 Clayton Rd., Concord. The Funeral Liturgy will be at 10:30AM, Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at Queen of All Saints Church, 2960 Grant St., Concord.
Memorial gifts in lieu of flowers may be made to either C.V.-C.S. Rotary Foundation or Queen of All Saints Church Building Fund.

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Published in East Bay Times on Oct. 18, 2020.
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