Frederick Thomas Murray

muray combined

Full Name
Frederick Thomas Murray

Date of Birth
Sunday, May 28th, 1922

Date of Death
Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

Obituary/Notice

Frederick Thomas Murray, age 96, of Erie, passed away peacefully Wednesday December 26, 2018.  He was born May 28, 1922 in Windsor, Ontario, the son of the late Frederick G. and Florence S. (Montgomery-Campbell) Murray. 

He was raised by his mother and aunt, Annette Montgomery-Campbell in Fredericton and Saint John, New Brunswick (NB), Canada.  Frederick attended Rothesay Collegiate School in Rothesay, NB, where he excelled on the varsity rugby, track and hockey teams, of which he was captain.  He was in life the humblest of men, a man of respect and strength who never drew attention to himself.  This was especially true of his service in World War II.  The following record came from his flight log book, historical records and the many newspaper reports from his hometown newspapers in Canada.

Frederick enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in August of 1941 and shortly thereafter was commissioned an officer and joined the 412 Eagle Squadron and the 401 Falcon Squadron, and a member of the 126th Wing which was formed in 1943, “which helped win and hold control of the skies for the invasion of Europe,” and that scored more victories than any other Allied air force, and it’s pilots were among the wars most decorated.  He flew well over 400 combat missions in Spitfires during two tours of duty from 1941-1945.  Frederick flew in all forms of combat; bomber escort, fighter plane sweeps, sea patrol and in all manner of low level ground targets and in the air.  He became and was a World War II Ace.  In 1943, he piloted his Spitfire fighter plane which participated in a successful raid on railway locomotives in the heart of Paris, France.  In one of the widely reported engagements, news reported in London, that five Canadian Spitfire pilots of the famed Falcon Squadron, led by Officer Fred Murray, took on 50 German Messerschmitts in formation over Holland.  “Flying Officer Murray waited, getting closer and then attacked out of the sun, and in the evening dogfight, destroyed 5 aircraft,” the RCAF news in London reported.  “His name frequently appeared and was reported in the news for his conduct and bravery in connection with flights over enemy territory.  In January, 1945, he was awarded Britain’s highest honor for fighter pilots, the Distinguished Flying Cross, DFC, for great gallantry in the performance of his duty while serving with the 401 and 412 squadrons with the RCAF.  The citation in which this award was made as follows:”

“Flight Lieutenant Murray has completed many sorties including a number of successful attacks on locomotives and other targets on the ground.  In air combat he has destroyed five enemy aircraft.  This officer has set a fine example of skill, courage and tenacity.”

Toward the end of the war on February 22, 1945, he was shot down over Holland, was missing in action, and became a prisoner of war, until liberated by General Patton’s third army in August of 1945.

Following the war, he attended the University of New Brunswick and graduated with a degree in Forest Management.  During this time, he met his wife, Dorothea “Daf” Claridge and were married on December 17, 1949, at the Cathedral of Saint Paul in Erie, PA.  They began their life together in the small French Canadian town of Kedgwick, NB, where Fred worked at International Paper Company as the Superintendent of Logging Operations.  He supervised one of the last logging river drives in Eastern Canada.  In 1956, after seven years in the northwoods of Canada, they moved to Erie, Pennsylvania with their three children, Ian, Alan and Helen.  In Erie, Fred worked for Hammermill Paper Company for the next 29 years as manager in their Northern Timberlands Division.  He was a great hockey player and played on the first Erie Lions Hockey team at the old Glenwood Ice Rink.  He coached for many years for the Erie Youth Hockey Association and served on the Board of the Erie Humane Society.  He loved the three dogs of his life and could often be seen daily, walking his dog Jessie along Wolf Road.  Upon his retirement, he volunteered and drove for Meals on Wheels for 20 years.  Fred traveled often in retirement to Canada and Great Britain, with his true great love, Dorothea.  They were, in all ways that matter, important and vital to each other in their shared love. 

Fred was a man of faith, active in his church at the Cathedral of Saint Paul and for many years served on their Chapter.  He was a master craftsman, building period furniture out of mahogany and cherry woods in his workshop.  He loved poetry, the outdoors, and the North Atlantic but above all he loved his family. 

In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his two younger sisters, Ruth Murray and Annette Murray, and his beloved son, Alan.

Fred is survived by his beloved wife of 69 years, Dorothea, and their children, Ian Murray and Helen Murray Richards; eight grandchildren, Mark, John, Noah, Trevor, Eleanor, Alan, Erin, and Ian Patrick as well as three great grandchildren.  He is further survived by two nieces and a nephew and many cousins.  Also surviving is his good friend, Jerry Trott.

Friends may call at the Episcopal Cathedral of Saint Paul, 134 W. 7th St., Erie, on Saturday, January 12th from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service at 11:00 a.m.  Burial will be private at Laurel Hill Cemetery.  Arrangements are entrusted to Burton Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., 602 W. 10th St., Erie.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Brevillier Village, 5416 East Lake Road, Erie, PA 16511.

Send condolences at www.Burtonfuneralhome.com.


Calling Hours

When
Saturday, January 12th, 2019 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM

Address
Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul - 134 W 7th Street Erie, PA 16501

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Service Information

When
Saturday, January 12th, 2019, 11:00 AM

Address
Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul - 134 W 7th Street Erie, PA 16501

Map & Directions


Interment

When
Saturday, January 12th, 2019

Address
Laurel Hill Cemetery - 4523 Love Road ERIE, PA 16506

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On-Call 24 hours Business Office: 602 W 10th Street, Erie, PA 16502