March 16 1925 January 24 2020
Robert “Bob” Arrowsmith Murray passed away at Primrose Senior Residence Community in Wasilla, Alaska on January 24, 2020. He was 94. He had been in declining health. He was born at home to Matilda Arrowsmith Murray and William John Murray on March 16, 1925 in Richmondale, Pennsylvania, near Scranton. He is survived by Jean, his wife of 56 years, and children Jenny, of Anchorage and Bill of Crofton, Maryland. Bob enlisted in the Army Air Corps when he graduated from Simpson High School in 1943 and served as an armorer in a P-38 fighter squadron in Italy from Aug. 1944 until the end of the war. After WWII he took advantage of the GI Bill eventually graduating from the University of New Mexico in 1950 with a degree in Social Science and in 1963 with an MA in Education from Ball State University in Indiana. After four years of teaching in Ohio and Indiana he became program director of South West Social Center in Indianapolis and then Director of Happy Hollow Children’s Camp in Brown County, Indiana, a camp operated with funding by the United Way. Meanwhile, in 1957 he and a few friends were founding members of the Indianapolis Hiking Club, which is still in existence and currently has more than 550 members. In 1966 his spirit of adventure, or a “mid-life crisis,” found him and Jean with 2-month old Jenny in Nome Alaska as the first dorm and recreation director of William Beltz Boarding School serving village high school students from St. Michael at the mouth of the Yukon River north to Utqiaġvik( formerly Barrow). In 1971, after two years as a teacher at the new Ryan Junior High in Fairbanks, he moved on as principal-teacher at a K-12 school in Anderson Alaska which had just acquired a high school. He remained there for 18 years until he retired in 1989. None of the Alaska schools had gymnasiums when he arrived at each site to either teach P.E. or to oversee the school’s athletics programs. Now, the gym at Anderson is named the Robert A. Murray Gymnasium. The Robert A. Murray Gymnasium at Anderson is one of his proudest legacies. Retirement permitted him and Jean to follow their wanderlust with winters in Arizona and travel in Eastern Canada, Argentina and Chile, Australia, Europe, China, Scandinavia, Mexico, Panama Canal and Iceland as well as all the United States, including hiking the Chilkoot Trail and to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back. Always a gregarious person, he had boundless curiosity about people, where they were from, who did they work for or where is the John Deere (or whatever corporation) headquarters located. Students benefitted from the recounting of his own school experience of being held back a year in school, of not being able to read until taught by a special teacher in 4th grade named Joe Ovnik, or of being kicked out of school in 10th grade for skipping class. His preferred method of discipline was a walk on the trails in the nearby woods with the student (a practice that might cause controversy today) while they discussed a variety of subjects that ended with the admonition of “Don’t do that again,” and sometimes the purchase of a candy bar at the local store. His greatest pride was to see the success of the students in their adult lives. A memory time will be held at Primrose Retirement Community on Friday, January 31, 2020 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Garden Side Cafe. To send flowers to the family of Robert “Bob” Arrowsmith Murray please visit our Sympathy Store.
Our most sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Robert Bob Arrowsmith Murray March 16 1925 January 24 2020.
Death notice for the town of: Juneau, state: Alaska