Emery G. Murray…June 21, 1938 – December 31, 2015



Emery G. Murray, age 77, found peace on December 31, 2015 at 4:43 pm surrounded by his wife, Betty; daughter, Rhonda; son, Michael; step-daughter, Charlene and grandson, Frankie.

Emery was born in Rocky Ford on June 21, 1938.  Emery and Betty were joined together in love and marriage on December 30, 1989.

Emery is survived by his loving wife, Betty L Murray of the family home, his son, Michael K (Laura Dougherty) Murray of Littleton, daughter, Rhonda K Murray of Las Animas, grandson Steven V (Dani) Murray and great-grandson, Vincent Emery Murray of La Junta, grandson Frankie Hawkins of Las Animas, Cole Miller and Nina Hawkins and their children Janae, Kadence and Trace of Wyoming, step-sons Phil (Teresa) Grasmick of Lone Tree (Elizabeth and Nick), Tim  (Sharon) Grasmick of Windsor (Erica, Joshua and Tyler), step-daughter Charlene (Tony) Nolan of Rocky Ford.  He is also survived by his sister Bernice (Ted) Lindtveit, Arvada CO; sister Louise (Floyd) Moss of Fontana, CA and brother Dean (Pat) Murray of Lakewood, CO.  Emery was preceded in death by his father Hayden L. Murray and mother Sarah R. Murray and many aunts and uncles.

Emery was born in Rocky Ford, Colorado to Hayden and Sarah Murray at his Grandmother Hamm’s home south of Rocky Ford. He then lived on a ranch 40 miles south of Las Animas. The children and their mother Sarah moved into town when Emery was a school aged boy and he graduated from Las Animas High School in 1956.  Upon graduation, Emery worked at the sugar factory in Swink, Colorado.  He joined the Navy in February of 1959 and was stationed on the USS Kersarge.  Emery returned to Las Animas in 1963, married and had his first child Michael on July 20, 1965.  Emery was working for the railroad at the time. Three years later on April 28, 1968, a daughter, Rhonda K. Murray came along. Emery left the railroad to be able to be home to raise his children. He became a Nurse Aide at Fort Lyon VA Medical Center, until he transferred to the Fire Department at Fort Lyon VAMC. Emery being the active and hardworking man, worked on farms & ranches for his friends and family on the weekends and evenings to provide for his family. Emery married Bonnie Burkepile in 1972 and divorced 16 years later. They raised their children together and enjoyed numerous travels around the country.

On December 30, 1989 Emery married the love of his life Betty Grasmick. The two took up their favorite hobby of spoiling their grandchildren. Emery continued to work at Fort Lyon, as did Betty. Emery retired from Fort Lyon as Captain of the Fire Department in 1998. Emery then started his career at Sunshine Manor where he was the maintenance man and friend to the staff and tenants. Socially, Emery enjoyed attending his grandchildren’s sporting events; baseball games, football games and wrestling matches for Las Animas High School, even after his grandchildren graduated. Emery received the “Fan of the Year” Award in 2008 from Las Animas High School.  Emery was an active member of the Santa Fe Trail Association and served as the Treasurer of the Bent’s Fort Chapter for 17 years. He was also a member of National Association of Retired Federal Employees, the USS Kersarge Reunion Association and American Legion. Emery spent his early mornings at LA Café having coffee, swapping stories and discussing the events of the Valley with his buddies.

Emery bravely and courageously fought a long, hard battle with prostate cancer since 2011. During a period of prostate cancer remission, he also battled and defeated colon cancer. When the prostate cancer returned Emery fought even harder. In November 2015, Emery made the difficult choice to forego additional treatment to focus on comfort and to spend his remaining time with his family. He graciously accepted help through Arkansas Valley Hospice and received outstanding care by the staff. His wife Betty was the caregiver for Emery until she injured her back and his daughter Rhonda stepped in to provide such gentle and loving care for her father in his and his wife’s home until his death on December 31, 2015.

Funeral services will be held at United Methodist Church on Wednesday January 6, 2016 at 2 o’clock pm with interment immediately following at the Las Animas/Bent County Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made in Emery’s honor to Arkansas Valley Hospice, 531 Lewis Ave, La Junta, Colorado 81050 or Bent’s Fort Chapter, Santa Fe Trail Association, 409 Willow Valley, Lamar, Colorado 81052.

Online condolences may be made at www.horberfuneralchapel.com. Horber Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

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