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Published: Wednesday, 8/18/2004

Elmore councilman enjoyed Santa role

ELMORE - James M. "Corky" Murray, a longtime member of the Elmore Village Council who liked to play Santa Claus for children, died of complications from kidney failure Saturday in St. Charles Mercy Hospital in Oregon. He was 75.

"Cork was well-liked by everyone," Bob Eickel, village council president, said. "He was very congenial, easy to get along with; one of the nicest men I've met in my whole life."

Mr. Murray' son, Michael, remembered that his father, who was on and off the village council since the mid-1970s, liked to play Santa for children in many communities of northwest Ohio and had done it for thousands of children over the past 45 years.

"He was a very kind man, a very caring man," Michael Murray said. "He cared for the community and the fellow man."

Mr. Murray, an Elmore native, dropped out of Elmore High School in 1945 when he was about 16 and became a maintenance worker for the former New York Central railroad in Elmore, fixing the tracks to help support the family. When Penn Central took over the railroad in 1968, Mr. Murray stayed with his job, and did that again in 1976 when the former Conrail acquired the railroad, his son said.

In the late 1970s, Mr. Murray was promoted to inspector. He inspected the tracks for Conrail until 1991, when he retired.

In retirement, Mr. Murray liked to fish and hunt.

Mr. Murray was a member of St. Paul-Trinity United Methodist Church in Elmore, Elmore Lions Club, and Elmore Historical Society.

Surviving are his son, Michael Murray; sisters, Betty Haar, Florence "Dutch" Floro, and Blanche Hershon; two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. today in St. Paul-Trinity United Methodist Church, Elmore. Arrangement are by Crosser Funeral Home, Elmore.

The family suggests tributes be to Elmore Lions Club, Elmore Historical Society, or Harris-Elmore EMS.



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