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Former CRS chief dies

August 13, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

His years of battling chronic multiple sclerosis over, Frank Murray died early Thursday at his home across the street from the former headquarters of his beloved Community Rescue Service, an organization he led for 10 years as chief. He was 60.

"He lived his life his way - the rest of us were just along for the ride," said Murray's wife, Noelle. "His was a life of service."

For more than 20 years, Murray routinely ran across the street from his home at 518 E. Franklin St. to respond to emergency medical calls with CRS, which is now on Eastern Boulevard.

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"Frank was a tremendous chief," said Jay Frantz, a longtime CRS medic and instructor. "A great teacher and a great medic, Frank did a lot of good for the squad."

Murray was confined for years to a hospital bed in a back bedroom of his home with chronic, progressive multiple sclerosis. A disorder of the nervous system, MS took its toll on Murray in the years before treatments were developed that now can retard its progress.

Murray was 17 when he began volunteering with fire and ambulance crews in Bloomfield, N.J., where he grew up. Drafted by the U.S. Army, he served as a communications officer at the former Fort Ritchie in Cascade from 1965-67.

When he left the service, Murray went to work for AT&T and made Washington County his home.

Former CRS President Ron Horn said that when he began volunteering for CRS in the early 1970s, Murray already was a member.

"Frank brought the organization together, it was like he was the glue that kept everyone going," Horn said.

He described Murray as an excellent medic who also was fair as a chief and as a friend.

The first clues that there was a health problem appeared slowly, Murray said in a February interview. He said he began having trouble starting IVs in patients. When he clipped a mirror backing an ambulance into CRS headquarters, he knew it was his last call.

"It's hard dealing with this," Murray said in the February interview. "I started out on a cane, went to a walker and then a wheelchair."

Murray stepped down as chief in 1990.

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