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Sandusky County farmer and township trustee dies at 87

By Allison Reamer • May 11, 2017 at 7:00 AM

FREMONT — Ray E. Murray, a Sandusky County farmer who devoted his life to agriculture, died May 4 in ProMedica Toledo Hospital. He was 87 and remained active on the farm.

He was having trouble breathing May 1, and was taken to ProMedica Memorial Hospital in Fremont. He was later transferred to ProMedica Toledo.

Relatives said they did not know the exact cause of death.

Mr. Murray, the owner of Ray Murray Family Farms west of Fremont, worked nearly 600 acres.

In addition to the traditional wheat, soybean, and corn rotation, he grew cabbage and sugar beets, which were used for sugar at Pioneer Sugar. Early in his career, Mr. Murray also raised cattle.

“He always had a garden to feed his family. He farmed to feed people. He was a true steward of the land,” said his oldest grandson, Thomas Crawford.

The son of a farmer, Mr. Murray grew up near Seneca County’s Old Fort and had farming in his blood.

“He had great pride in providing for his family and for the community,” his grandson said.

Mr. Murray arose at dawn and frequently put his grandson to work on the farm.

“My brother and I spent hours working on the farm with grandpa and other family members,” Mr. Crawford said. “He was a very hardworking man, a very content and hardworking man.”

To many in the community, Mr. Murray was “Uncle Ray.”

“Everybody knew him. He knew hundreds of people,” his grandson said.

John Havens, a Jackson Township trustee, described Mr. Murray as a pillar of the community.

“He and his wife and their family were just really looked up to, a lot of respect,” Mr. Havens said.

The Murray farm went to Mr. Murray’s son, Bradley.

Mr. Murray was a long-time member of the Lakota Young Farmers and the Sandusky County Farm Bureau.

He served several terms on the board of Ag Credit in Fremont.

He was a Jackson Township trustee in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and he was a founding member of its zoning board.

He was a member of the Old Fort Church and a 55-year member of the Old Fort Lions Club.

He played in several local card clubs, dominating his game in euchre and pinochle.

He was an avid Ohio State University and Cleveland Indians fan. If the weather or grain market reports weren’t on the television, his grandson could guarantee sports would be.

Born Sept. 10, 1929, to Christine and Harry Murray, he was a 1947 graduate of Old Fort High School.

While in high school, he participated in baseball, basketball, cross country, and track.

He attended Buckeye Boys State in 1946. Many years later, while looking through memorabilia, he discovered a document signed by Neil Armstrong who had attended at the same time. The astronaut became the first person to walk on the moon and is known for the quote: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Mr. Murray and his wife, Lois, were in the same graduating class and began dating a few years after high school. They wed March 15, 1953, and had been married 62 years when she died Jan. 17, 2016.

“It was always just grandma and grandpa. They were very loving and caring people,” Mr. Crawford said.

Mr. Murray was drafted into the Army near the end of the Korean War and served for two years.

“He served his community, country, and family,” his grandson said.

Surviving are his daughters, Rebecca L. White and Elizabeth S. Crawford; sons, Robert E. Murray and Bradley C. Murray; sister, Alma Tomlinson; six grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.

The calling hours and funeral service took place Wednesday in Old Fort Church. Horvath Hanes Funeral Home in Green Springs is handling arrangements.

The family suggests tributes to Old Fort United Methodist Church, Old Fort Lions Club, Lakota Young Farmers, or a charity of the donor’s choice.

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©2017 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)

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