Murray Lee Warren, 89, recently of Cambridge, MN, and long-time resident of Crookston, MN, was ushered into the arms of his Savior on Tuesday, November 26, 2013.
Murray was born on May 22, 1924 in Park Rapids, MN, the oldest son of Clifford James Warren and Ellena Belle Rhodes Warren. He graduated as valedictorian of the Nevis High School Class of 1942. While a student at Bemidji State Teacher’s College, he enlisted in the army on December 3, 1942. He entered active service on April 2, 1943. He received basic medical and engineering training before being assigned to the signal corps where he was instructed in telegraph and telephone installation, operation, and repair. He departed for the CBI (China-Burma-India) theater of operations on Jan. 11, 1945 by transport ship through the south Pacific, by way of Australia. He arrived in India on February 20, 1945. He remained in India and Burma, mainly, working to maintain communication along the Ledo Road, which was under construction as an overland supply route to China. On at least one occasion, he flew in a supply plane on a dangerous “over the hump” (meaning over the Himalayan mountains from Burma to China) mission. By the time he left Burma on Feb. 22, 1946, the Ledo Road was open, the war was officially over, and the world was returning to “normal”. However, as Murray recalls, tensions in China were noticeably increasing. Once the hostilities with Japan ended, China’s internal struggles resumed and the Chinese civil war broke out which was destined to bring communism to China. Murray returned home to the USA on March 19, 1946 and was honorably discharged on March 25, 1946, with a rank of “Tec-5” (Technician Fifth Grade).
Murray was united in marriage to his beautiful sweetheart, Darlene Luella Fradenburgh, on August 15, 1947. He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Education in 1948, and began a career as a high school science teacher in Boy River, MN. He taught for three years in Boy River, for four years in Backus, MN, and for 33 years in Crookston, MN, where he also coached track and cross country. During those years, he also completed a Master’s Degree from Greeley State College in Greeley, CO, and did post-graduate work at the University of Minnesota and University of North Dakota, and raised a family of six children. During his tenure in Crookston, Murray served as head of the Science Department, Civil Defense Director for the City of Crookston, member of the Crookston Civic Music League, Christian Business Men’s Committee, the American Legion Nels T. Wold Post 20, The United Way Committee, member of the Municipal Band, organizer of the Pioneer Days Road Race, and many positions at Calvary Baptist Church, where he and Darlene were charter members. In addition to his teaching career, for many years Murray owned his own small Christmas tree business, Nevis Pines. At Christmas time many Crookston homes and churches were filled with the beauty and fragrance of fresh pine, thanks to Murray. He also worked numerous summers as an inspector of migrant labor housing for the Minnesota Department of Health. Murray retired from teaching in 1988, but continued as a substitute teacher for another 10 years. He fellowshipped at the Evangelical Covenant Church in the last years of his residence in Crookston.
Page 2 of 2 - From 1998 – 2008, Murray and Darlene lived in Mesa, AZ for the winter months. There Murray sang with the Men of Melody choir, the Mesa Spirit Chapel choir, and enjoyed playing in the bocce league.
In 2010, Murray and Darlene moved from Crookston to Cambridge, where they enjoyed their new home at Grace Pointe – River Hills. He suffered a stroke in June of 2013, and spent his final months at Gables West, lovingly cared for by the staff, his wife, and his five daughters.
Murray is survived by his one true love, his wife Darlene, and their six children: Lu (Ron) Sundheim of New London, MN; Rhoda (Jim Held) of Indianapolis, IN; Mary Lynn (Jerry) Hoard of Waterloo, IA; Mark (Susan) of Normal, IL; Leah (Art) Volker of Cambridge, MN; and Maggie (Tom) Nitti of White Bear Lake, MN. He also leaves 15 grandchildren and spouses, and 7 great-grandchildren, with 1 more due in December. He is also survived by his one brother, Ross W. Warren of Corvallis, OR, and many nieces and nephews. Murray was preceded in death by his parents, a great-grandson, and several brothers and sisters-in-law.
Murray’s life was a sterling example of faithfulness – to his family, to his career, to his country, and most importantly, to the God he served. “Well done, good and faithful servant. . . Enter into the joy of your Lord.” (Matthew 25:21)
Memorial services were held on Sunday, December 1, 2013 at Strike Funeral Home – Cambridge Chapel.