Gary Lee Murray
1952 - 2015
Pierce Brothers-Crestlawn Mortuary
11500 Arlington Ave
Riverside, CA
GARY LEE MURRAY, born July 2, 1952, passed away unexpectedly, November 30, 2015. He was preceded in death by his beloved mother, Bertha Murray. He is survived by his father, William J. Murray; his sister, Vickie Zimmerman; and his brother, William Murray, Jr. Other remaining family members include Evelyn Murray, Charles and Vera Murray, his aunts and uncle. He has numerous nieces and nephews. Gary was brilliant and excelled easily at anything he was interested in. In his youth, he was considered a child prodigy because of his mastery of any and all stringed instruments. For a time, he played his 5-stringed banjo semi-professionally. He was solving algebra problems before he was in kindergarten. His brain was so advanced that as a youth he would sit for a couple of days at a time in a dining room chair just thinking and lose several pounds of weight, much to his mother's dismay. He was so much smarter than everyone else that at age 12, he submitted a personal computer model to the school science fair. He won and even competed with his computer at the state level. His model never worked, but the design was so advanced that the judges declared him the winner for his yet unthought-of concept of a personal computer. He was the mastermind behind numerous practical jokes played on his sister's dates in high school. In his teens, he built his own 10-speed bike out of parts he manufactured himself. His model was so light and durable that he was sought after for building more like it. He loved hitching a ride with his bike up to Lake Arrowhead just so he could ride screaming down the mountain without touching his brakes once. He had great courage. Gary attended UC Riverside and also joined the U.S. Navy. He was a renowned stringed instrument maker and he was sought after by many willing to pay high dollars for his quality instruments. He devoted great energy and time to caring for his beloved dog, Fuhnman. He had a rapier wit that could be misunderstood by those with "normal" IQ's. He was a clever, thoughtful, and understanding man. He was much beloved by his sister, Vickie. He had many great qualities. Gary led a quiet life with a few close friends. He was well liked and will be greatly missed by those who knew him. Services will be held at the Riverside National Cemetery where he will be buried with military honors, at 10:00 a.m. on December 29, 2015. A reception will be held at the family home at 1807 St. Lawrence, Riverside, immediately after the burial. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations could be made to the VFW or The American Cancer Society. Questions can be answered by calling his father at 951-780-7117.

Published by The Press-Enterprise on Dec. 23, 2015.
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Riverside National Cemetery
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7 Entries
I knew Gary from when we were in the sixth grade together--We went through junior high school and high school in the same class--We even started university at the same time--It was then that I really got to know him--I put him on the spot and got him to play the fiddle with one of the local bluegrass luminaries--He began playing with the local musicians including the band Hogwash--People would speak in awe of how much beer he could drink and how the more he consumed the better he played--During most of 1980 we hung out a lot--I would compliment him on the speed and cleaness of his instrumental technique and he would tip his hat to me and compliment me on my ability to improvise--The last few years I've been trying to locate him--It is with sadness that I learned of his passing
Rick Heller
April 30, 2018
I'm so sad to learn of Gary's passing only now. He was my first violin teacher many years ago when I was a youngster and he was in his early 20s. His virtuosity on violin/fiddle and many other stringed instruments was already legendary back then. As was his brilliance. He used to say he bore a striking resemblance to a young Manuel de Falla. He did. I cherish the memory of him playing fiddle with the local Riverside blue grass band, Hog Wash (with George Lawton when he was a baby musician). Rest in peace, maestro.
Elena Creef
April 20, 2018
We have known Gary for many years. We use to bring him to our house for dinner many times. (Him and fumen his dog.) We would see him often near stater brothers on Iowa ave. And then we noticed he had not been around. Abel and I knew something must had happened to him. So today I Googled his name searching for him. And I found out that he passed away about the same time he disappeared. Our blessings
Rhonda silva
January 13, 2017
Steve Zappe
May 17, 2016
I am so sorry to just now hear of Gary's passing. It has been years since I've been in contact with the Murray family, but I am sad to hear this news. I remember Gary as being brilliant and a bit a awkward, I only wish that I had had the opportunity to know of his talents as he continued into adulthood. I am sure Vicki and Bill miss him greatly.Life is so fleeting. So sorry for your loss. Patti Levesque (San Diego, CA)
Patti Levesque
March 6, 2016
Patrick Brayer
January 5, 2016
It is very easy for me to say that Gary Murray was one of the most unique individuals I have had the worldly pleasure to meet. Just the mere thought of his name brings on a plethora of stories. I remember one instance taking a fiddle (which I bought from him) over to his place because I couldn¹t figure out how to get an annoying buzz out of it. He glanced it over slyly and retreated back into the house and upon returning handed me his own prized blonde fiddle. It had these heart shaped tuning pegs on it that he carved by hand, and it sported one of those spruce tops that he would painstakingly re-graduate. I'm proud to say that I own only two fiddles, one given to me by Stuart Duncan, the other by Gary Murray. Gary would in my presence sometimes mimic a Django Rheinhardt guitar solo note for note, then up and grab his fiddle and also replicate violinist Stephen Grappelli¹s answered parts. He had an entirely different philosophy of music. Everyone who heard him of course envied him, but I respected the fact that he kept it to himself, close to the vest. Like a true artist, to him it was personal, not something to then parade around for attention. He worked on his foreign bicycles with the same exact enthusiasm that he poured into musical instrument design In that sense he was also a true romantic, so much so that you just knew that he swooned, as innocent as pictured above, at the very curvature of the machinery, or the delicate bouts of a fiddle. All told, I feel lucky to have known him, and his memory will never cease.
Patrick Brayer
January 3, 2016
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