Community bids farewell to local legend

BARRY’S BAY – In 1910, The Renfrew Mercury published an article calling the August wedding of Mr. Thomas Murray and Miss Hanna Kiely a “social event of widespread interest.” The article concluded, “…they will reside in Barry’s Bay where Mr. Murray and brothers carry on an extensive lumber trade. A happy and prosperous future is the wish of their many friends.”

It would seem this wish came true.

On Wednesday, August 14, Thomas and Hanna’s youngest son Dowdall Sylvester Leo Raymond Murray was buried in the family plot, just two weeks shy of his 92nd birthday. Dowdall was buried on the feast of Maximilian Kolbe; a saint whom John Paul II called, “The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century.”

Born in 1927, Dowdall Murray navigated the difficulties of the 20th century with considerable skill and energy. A child in the dirty thirties, he grew up to understand the value of money and of the work required to earn it. His entrepreneurial spirit revealed itself at a young age when as a kid he sold worms and frogs to American cottagers in the area. Long before he graduated from St. Patrick’s College in Ottawa, he earned a solid education in the “school” at Murray’s store, owned by his uncle.

In The Sawdust Gene, a book commemorating the centenary of the Murray Brothers Lumber Company, Dowdall’s son Ted wrote, “Dowdall was somewhat more adventurous than his siblings and he worked within the industry for the other companies before returning to Murray Brothers. He worked for Abitibi as a log scaler for a period of time and also for the Province of Ontario as a government log scaler for a year.”

He began spending summers at the family mill from the age of eight, and by 13 he was employed there during the summers. By age 18, he was licensed as both a scaler and grader. He knew the lumber business from many angles.

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