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Dave W. Murray

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My father, Dave W. Murray, was a science fiction and fantasy writer and editor, an elementary school teacher for 32 years, a photographer, a tour guide, and an amateur historian. At different times, he managed a shoe store and sold insurance. As an assistant Scoutmaster, he went the extra mile to earn the Woodbadge recognition. He was a elder in his church.

On May 17, 2012, he had successful open-heart surgery, but the next morning he suffered a serious stroke to the left hemisphere of his brain. About three weeks later at 1:46 AM on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, my father passed beyond this life to begin his next great adventure. If you are curious, I blogged the entire event. People also left encouraging messages for us during that time.

Family, friends and former students have asked for a place to leave messages about my father or to the family: messages of hope, memories of things they have done together, inspirational messages, and so on. I created this page just for that purpose.


Note: If you do not see the videos below, try these two things:

Dave W. Murray Memorial Video #1: 1940-1957

To view full-screen, click the button below.

If the video does not load, you may need to get the Flash Player.

Dave W. Murray Memorial Video #2: 1958-1986

To view full-screen, click the button below.

If the video does not load, you may need to get the Flash Player.

Dave W. Murray Memorial Video #3: 1987-2012

To view full-screen, click the button below.

If the video does not load, you may need to get the Flash Player.



On Wednesday, June 6, 2012, David W. Murray of Sacramento, age 71, entered into rest peacefully.

Born in 1940 in St. Paul, Minnesota, his family moved to Columbus, Ohio, when he was three and to Visalia, CA, when he was six. Dave attended schools in Visalia and graduated from College of the Sequoias and then Fresno State University. He earned his M.A. in Education from Pepperdine University.

His teaching career began at Pioneer Elementary (Hanford, CA) while earning a lifetime teaching credential. In 1968, he moved to Arroyo Grande, CA and taught grades 2-6 at Grover Heights Elementary (Grover City, CA) for 30 years. Fourth and fifth grades were Dave’s favorites to teach, sharing his love of California history and science with his students. He retired from teaching in 1995.

In 1999, Dave and Marlene, his wife of almost 50 years, moved to Sacramento. He suffered a stroke the following year but eventually made a full recovery. He worked for the California Dept. of Parks and Recreation as a tour guide at Sutter’s Fort, State Indian Museum, Governor’s Mansion, Leland Stanford Mansion, and California State Capitol Museum. He enjoyed sharing his knowledge with visitors and delighted in learning from guests who had lived in the mansions.

Dave had a life-long love of writing and reading science-fiction and fantasy. He was an active member of a Sacramento writers group, the Warped Spacers. He also had an avid interest in the natural world and made a study of biology, geography, astronomy, and geology. He loved camping and hiking, and he served as a staff member at a YMCA camp in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. He was active in the Boys Scouts of America, and completed Wood Badge, the most advanced training available for Scout leaders. He was an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church USA and enjoyed attending services at Westminster Presbyterian Church and The Experience in Sacramento when his work schedule permitted.

On May 18, he had a stroke following heart surgery and suffered from complications until his passing. His parents, Wm. Donald and Frances Murray of Visalia, preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife and son, Marlene and Will Murray of Sacramento, and his sister and brother-in-law, Lois and David Feleay of Cambria.

It was Dave’s wish not to have a public memorial service, but you may leave memories of Dave and comments for his family at

In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made on his behalf to the California State Parks Foundation at or The Nature Conservancy at

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65 thoughts on “Dave W. Murray”

  1. Will, You were so good about keeping everyone informed about what was happinging with your Dad and Mom. I am so sorry to hear about you losing your Dad. It was just a year ago that I lost my Dad, and he was a lot older, but it isn't any easier. I know you did your best that last month. It will take time for you and your Mom to recover and reflect, but concentrate on the good memories.


  2. Will, I am so very sorry for your loss. Your father was one of my favorite teachers, and my friend. He will be missed. I still went to him to chat about life, politics, family and travel. I spoke with him the night before his surgery, and I am so thankful for that. He will always hold a special place in my heart. I hope your mom is doing okay. She will remain in my prayers, as well as your entire family. God Bless ♥

  3. Will:
    So very very sorry to hear your dad passed. We worked together at the Fort and Indian Museum and used to give each other writing tips and read each other's manuscripts.
    One thing I always appreciated about your dad was that he was "no drama"… no axes to grind, no unkind words about anyone, ever. He was just simply a very pleasant person to be around. I'm going to miss him.
    Please give my condolences to your mom.

  4. I knew Dave through several forums on the internet. He was always supportive and inspirational to his fellow writers. He will be missed, and he will be remembered. Thank you for sharing this deeply personal time with us. I wish the best of you and your family and good health to you and your mother.

  5. Dave was respected and thought of fondly at the Capital District/State Parks. I remember the fun of working with him on the Frontier Farm at the CA State Fair. We were short volunteers for staffing the 1850's farm, but Dave graciously showed up on the hottest of days and taught children loom weaving for hours. He was delightful with a gentle manner appreciated by all, and he made an awesome weaving. We all were sadden at Dave's passing.

  6. Katie (Hadeler) Fox

    The news of Dave's passing has just reached me today and to say I am saddened, is an understatement. We don't realize how much someone has touched our lives until they are gone. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. What a great feeling to know that he is with our Creator in Heaven!

    I moved from Bishop to Grover "City" (then) 4 months into my 4th grade year. It was a tough move for me, as I was heading far away from my father. I now know why God placed me in "Mr. Murray's" class. He filled a huge gap in my life that will never be forgotten. At that time (1983) teachers were allowed to receive a hug from a student and Dave's hugs were always the best! He greeted me with love and compassion, although at the time, all I knew was his warm welcome! Thank you for sharing this wonderful man with me – he has truly enriched my life!

  7. Mr. Murray, you've told me to call you Dave but I have so much repect for you that I can't find it in me to call you Dave. You are forever in my heart. The most loving influential teacher in my life. I love you Mr. Murray. May you be at peace.
    With much love and respect.
    Lisa Coelho-Albera, your 5th grade student.

    1. Video #2 is up now. It's from 1958-1986. I'm glad that you enjoyed the first one. The second one is really the prime of his life. The third one is going to be the hardest one to make. Tears for sure.

  8. Margie and Gerry Kik

    Dear Marlene and Will,
    Gerry and I were deeply saddened this evening to see the news of Dave's passing. We spent so many great years as friends and our business venture together. We certainly made lifetime friends with you. Our hearts go out to both of you and your family. Life is truly short and we need to remember to enjoy it as we go along. We were truly blessed to know Dave. With deepest sympathy, Gerry & Margie

  9. Ron & Jean Kikuc

    Dear Marlene & Will,

    We are so sorry to hear of your loss. We always thought of Dave as a gentle soul & person who did the right thing. We are blessed to have crossed paths.

    Sincerely, Ron & Jean Kikuchi

    1. Thanks Mark. Boy Scouts was a big part of our lives. Even after I left Scouts, Dad continued serving as a merit badge adviser until we moved to Sacramento.

  10. Marsha Bronzan Robbi

    I am from Dave's long ago past…way back in the 60's. I have very fond memories of Dave, Marlene, and Lois at the YMCA Camp where we served as counselors. Dave used to take us out and show us the stars. What a treat! After all of these many years, I often think of him as I stare at the night sky and remember the "easier" days.

    “Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.” – Eskimo proverb.

    My deepest sympathies to Marlene and Lois and the rest of the family.

    This blog is wonderful! I wish there wasn't a reason to be seeing it, but thank you for posting it and especially for sharing all of the photos.

  11. I met your father when he participated in National Novel Writing Month a couple of years ago. I did not know him very well, but I liked him. I'm very sorry to hear of his passing, and I will keep you and your family in my thoughts.

  12. I am very sorry to hear these news about his passing… I first met Dave in a small, on-line writing community where he was a spirited and active member – he was the oldest there by far, but that did not stop him from being one of the more active members, giving us all valuable input and being very happy to discuss both his and our writing.

    He will be very missed!

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