Mary Emma Murray

Mary Emma Murray

November 07, 1921 - February 16, 2018
Irvine CA

Mary Emma Murray

November 07, 1921 - February 16, 2018
Irvine CA


Mary Emma Murray lives in Irvine CA, passed away at the age of 96.
Born on November 07, 1921 and passed away on February 16, 2018.

Memorial Service

  • Date & Time: February 24, 2018 (7:00 PM)
  • Venue: O'Connor Mortuary
  • Location: 25301 Alicia Parkway Laguna Hills, CA 92653 - (Get Directions)
  • Phone Number: (949) 581-4300

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3 responses to Mary Emma Murray

  1. Sweet Mary – My life has been graced by knowing you. David found such a jewel when he met you on that Colorado railroad excursion. I never did know if that was true, but the story he told was so romantic that, even if it was fudged a little, it would just had more romance to it. Go well to your destiny and surely you will be received with open arms.

  2. To our family during this time. We wish that we could be with you to provide some comfort. Know that we are thinking of you and praying for your peace.

  3. ary’s Smile

    Mary and I were next-door neighbors for more than 30 years. Our condos are connected by a garage wall and our backyards, by a side fence.
    We were connected in other ways, too”that mysterious bond that happens with some people in your life that you can’t quite explain.
    We came from different generations, Mary and I. In age, we were almost exactly a quarter-century apart. She was born a few years after the First World War, and I, a few years after the second. She was old enough, in fact, to be my mother. I think that’s why, when my own mom died 20 years ago, I took comfort that Mary was next door, and found myself visiting her often. Nobody, of course, can replace your own mother, but sometimes the right people come into our lives at the right time, in the right place.
    Despite our age differences and the fact we were raised a continent apart”Mary in Maine, and I in California”she and I found much common ground. We related more like contemporaries. For one thing, we’d both had earlier marriages and then found love again when we were well along in life”old, in fact!
    We were both moms, and we both had two boys (I also had a daughter, born right around the time Mary came to live next door).
    We were both grandmas, too”though she had great-grandchildren and I couldn’t yet claim that!
    We both loved our pets and our gardens”and dessert!. We shared the names of gardeners and house cleaners, plumbers and products, favorite flowers and plants, favorite places to travel.
    We were both residents of the same condo association and the same city, and we shared the pluses and minuses of both. She enjoyed relating her consumer grievances, too, and telling me about the indignant letters she wrote, and the phone calls, as she fought various battles.
    Even beyond our conversations, beyond the slices of cake or the flowers I brought over” and the dishes and vases she washed and handed back to me over the fence”beyond the mail we took in for each other or the grandkid tales we traded, there was, for me, a great intangible bonus of our friendship, and that was Mary’s smile. And the way it made ME smile, no matter what was going on in my own life or in the world outside. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. When Mary smiled, her blue eyes sparkled with an incandescence like a flash bulb that opened her whole face. Guileless and in-the-moment, no secrets, no agenda, those eyes looked straight into yours, and you glanced at her soul, the girl inside her, her whole life written on her beaming countenance, just for a millisecond.
    In that smile were innocence and merriment and a little mischief, the sense of a shared private joke. I saw, too, confidence and even a kind of impenetrability”a reflection of her ever-practical, ever-pragmatic nature. Underneath was the hint of a lively imagination, of appreciation for the irony in the unpredictable way life unfolds, the quirkiness of human beings that sometimes leaves us shaking our heads. And even below that, pushing up sometimes through the deeply etched lines in her sweet face, was the tiniest suggestion that certain chapters in her life had been hard. But up top, she kept things light, never dwelling on the past or anything negative.
    Decades back, when I came to visit, she’d get to the door in a flash, eagerly, even though she was already up there in age. More recently, she moved more slowly, with a walker. Sometimes, after a fall or surgery, when she couldn’t get to her feet so well, I’d tap on the window or door and call to her. She’d call back, “Come on in!” and I’d open her door with the key she kept hidden outside under a pot. I’d find her in her comfy chair in the TV room, passing the time, contentedly watching her shows”often the news. SometimeshercatCompanywouldbesnuggleddown on her lap.
    Mary and I talked about the times we lived in, about our kids, our memories. Simple things, nothing deep, typical neighbor stuff. She’d tell me about the ladies in the Woodbridge Women’s Group. Or about her grandchildren, or trips she’d taken with David, or a family get-together. She’d catch me up on her whole clan: babies born and degrees earned, new jobs found, moves made.
    In later years, her hearing got bad, but that just made her smile even brighter. She smiled because she was engaged in the conversation, because she wanted you to know she was listening, even if she didn’t pick up every word. Often the answers she gave didn’t quite match the questions that you asked her, but it didn’t matter. The smile was what mattered.
    A shadow of it was still there even on Valentine’s Day, near the end, when we went to see her at Kaiser.
    She was dozing when we arrived. I tapped her lightly, just like I used to tap her window. When she saw us, the corners of her mouth lifted slightly, but her smile was weak, a little sad and resigned, and it broke my heart.
    I could tell she was tired of the hospital, done with the tubes, frustrated that things were spinning out of her control. I knew she realized her lively independence had been dealt a final blow by her aging body.
    Many times she had said to me, “I never thought I’d live this long.” This time, I knew she was ready to call it quits.
    During our visit, she couldn’t really talk or hear. We tried writing notes, but she was too weak. We watched a little TV, but we didn’t say much.
    I just wanted to be next to her a little longer.
    I knew it would probably be the last time, and I felt almost desperate to see her smile dazzle that room, lighten her spirits, lighten ours.
    I wanted her to forget, even for a moment, she was in the acute care wing of the hospital, surrounded by machines and sounds and seriousness.
    Just as we were about to leave, I had an idea.
    I had taken my two-year-old grandson, Leighton, to visit her, from the tine he was just a few weeks old. She loved it. He loved going to see her, too. He’d play with the big teddy bear in her living room, and sit in the little white chair. He was fascinated by the cat. He liked to pick through the cat’s toys. He liked to gaze into the pretty glass paperweight on the living room table. He liked to flirt with Mary and flash his own shy baby smile.
    She’d get her soft stuffed birds down for him, from the shelf in the hall. When you squeezed them, they’d warble and tweet, each song different, based on the type of bird.

    When Leighton learned to talk, about a year ago, he never failed to ask, “Can we go see Mary?” when we went out my front door for a walk. Mary’s grandkids and great-grandkids didn’t live close by, and it was clear she got a kick out of Leighton’s visits, so I’d usually say “yes.”
    And so, when we were in that hospital room in the last few minutes of my last visit with Mary, I took out my phone and showed her a quick video of Leighton, kicking a ball at his toddler soccer class a few days before.
    And there it was. The sunshine of her smile, all but erupting, sheer delight, a small chuckle from deep in her throat, those still-lively eyes, the door to her soul, to all she had been and lived through for those 96 years , to the part of her that would continue on, long after her body was gone.
    And that’s why, every time I think of her smile, I smile, too.

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