Born in Charlestown, Mass. in June 1920, Charles William Murray grew up in the shadow of Bunker Hill and passed away peacefully in the presence of his loved ones in San Luis Obispo on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013.
Following his graduation in 1938 from the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology with a degree in Automotive Maintenance, he took a summer vacation to California. He instantly fell in love with the California climate and, shortly thereafter, fell in love with a beautiful brunette ranch girl, Audrey Mae Rhodes, daughter of Sam and Olive Bermingham Rhodes of the Highland area east of Creston. They married in 1941 and over the next six years had two daughters, Suzette and Lynette.
Charles and his father-in-law, Sam, raised beef cattle and grain. Charles was inducted into the U.S. Army and was stationed at Camp Crowder, Mo. He was then selected to teach cadets Signal Corps operations at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY. Once established, he arranged for Audrey and Suzette to join him, having secured an apartment in nearby Highland Falls, NY.
After an Honorary Military Discharge in 1946, Charles and Audrey purchased acreage adjoining the Rhodes Ranch and continued farming, which included custom harvesting.
Charles was an active member of the Creston community and served as school board trustee, Farm Bureau officer, and 4-H course instructor. He also served as Deacon at the Templeton Hills S.D.A. Church and was a member of the Templeton American Legion.
He taught automotive maintenance at the former California Youth Authority/Boys School in Paso Robles and at the California Men’s Colony. For several years, he worked as a heavy equipment operator for Alex Madonna’s Construction Co. and later with the California State Department of Forestry, San Luis Obispo.
Over the years, he participated in the recreational activities of the Paso 4-Wheelers and the S.L.O. Bottle Society. This past May, Charles surprised his friends and family by his Margarita Adventures Zip Line run.
Widowed in March 2006, Charles joined family members on a memorable cruise through the Panama Canal in 2007 and enjoyed showing his great-grandchildren his hometown of Boston in 2009. Charles certainly had an adventurous spirit.
Charles was a man of optimism, integrity, and a keen sense of humor. He will long be remembered for his twinkling blue eyes and his vast repertoire of fascinating life stories.
He was predeceased by his parents, Charles J. and Ethel Mae, his sister, Ethel (Maerz), and wife, Audrey.
He is survived by his daughters, Suzette Lees (David) of San Luis Obispo and Lynette Lame (Robert) of Mesquite, Nev.; four grandchildren, Mark Van Saun, Kristina Jensen, Brooks Lame and Rochelle Wagner; and seven great-grandchildren.
Charles also leaves behind many dear friends in the church and ranching communities of the North County and San Luis Obispo. The family wishes to thank the kind and caring staff of Foothill Gardens, San Luis Obispo, where Charles spent the last two months of his life following a severe fall in his San Luis Obispo home.
According to Charles’ request, a private, graveside service will be held. It will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013 at the Paso Robles District Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Paso Robles Pioneer Museum, 2010 Riverside Ave., Paso Robles, CA, 93446.For the complete article see the 09-20-2013 issue.
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