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Dolores Murray

Rhody Family Funeral Home

“A strong woman is the lifeline of her family. She carries within her the power to endure pain and the courage to sacrifice. She has the power to create and nurture life. She is indeed the epitome of love.” – Aarti Khurana

Dolores Margaret was welcomed into the world by parents Albert and Leona (Waechter) Graf on Friday, October 9, 1936. She joined her older siblings Marie, Eileen, and Maurice, and after that, the Graf family grew with the additions of Jerome “Chappy”, Marlene, and Bernice. The Graf family lived on a 100-acre farm on the corner of Sideroad 5 and Concession 2 in Greenock Township in an old stone house. When she was 7, Dolores began school at the Greenock Catholic School, a one room school with grades 1-8. She and her siblings walked a mile and a quarter to and from school every day. The Graf family had a big garden, growing every vegetable. Dolores helped hoeing the turnips, loading them on the wagon, and cutting the leaves and roots off when she was old enough. She also helped with the many chores around the farm and the different animals they had. After Dolores graduated from grade 8, she made the decision to stay at home and help on the farm with the chores and assist her parents with her younger siblings. She ended up joining her sister Marie working at Meyer’s, a restaurant in Walkerton, first as a dishwasher, and then as a waitress. On top of working at the restaurant, she babysat for many local families. 

Dolores and her friends would attend many dances in Walkerton, Formosa, and Chepstow on Saturday nights. However, she would always be in the pews at Mary Immaculate Church in Chepstow with her family every Sunday.

Her brother Maurice had many friends, and one of those friends was a young man by the name of Harvey Francis Murray. Dolores knew the Murray family from church, local dances, and many other gatherings in the Chepstow community, and sometimes Harvey would drive her home. Harvey was the one who taught Dolores how to drive when she was 18, and it was a shock to her parents when she set her driver’s licence on the table. On Tuesday, June 3, 1958, Dolores and Harvey were married at Mary Immaculate Church at 9 a.m., with a big party following. The newlywed couple moved into the Murray home farm on Sideroad 5, just on the outskirts of Chepstow, where they lived and raised their family. After they were married, Dolores never worked off of the farm. She dedicated her time to cooking for the men who helped on the farm, as well as milking the cows and working in the garden.  

In February 1961, Dolores and Harvey were expecting their first child. Three weeks before her due date, Dolores found out she was having twins, and the next day, they welcomed twin daughters Karen and Sharon. Two years later, they welcomed their son Kevin, and a year later, Janice was born. Four years later Joan was born and 6 years later, the Murray family was complete with the arrival of Dianne. When their daughter Janice was only 11 years old, she was diagnosed with Histoplasmosis, an infection that affects the lungs. Things changed very quickly for Dolores as her number one priority became taking care of Janice.  The care included many trips to London for medical appointments and the handling of big oxygen tanks to assist with Janice’s breathing. Three years and three months later, on June 5, 1979, Janice passed away with Dolores and Harvey by her side. This was the hardest moment in Dolores’ life, as the whole family was grieving as well as farming and raising young children. 

After the loss of Janice, Dolores did everything to keep herself busy. She threw herself into the many tasks that needed to be completed on the farm in addition to driving her kids to ball games and other activities. Dolores and Harvey were involved with the Chepstow Snowmobile Club and the Walkerton Saddle Club. On their property by the river, they cleared out a place where they could enter the river, and where they would host countless parties and family reunions, for both the Murray and Graf families, which is now called “Killer Beach”.

Dolores had a good sense of humour, always giving her family a hard time and keeping them on their toes. She was caring, kind hearted, but also with a bit of sass. Dolores loved her children, but when her grandchildren were born, that love was taken to a different level. When her first grandson arrived,  she was so happy. So much so that many drinks were consumed that night. Dolores was lucky enough to have eleven grandchildren, and to babysit most of them. She was so proud of all her children and grandchildren’s accomplishments, and loved when they would come for a visit, have a drink and always made sure they never left on an empty stomach! Dolores would always have ice cream sandwiches and bars, jujubes, and desserts on hand. From the year her first grandchild was born, the Murray family rented a cottage in Port Elgin for a week, along with her sister Marie’s family. Over the years, countless memories were made, and she enjoyed watching her grandchildren play on the beach and sit around the campfire.

Dolores was an amazing cook and baker. She loved to share food with all of her family, and with the many people who would help with the harvest at the farm. It wouldn’t truly be a Murray family function without many different types of desserts, all handmade of course! Her nanaimo bars, butterscotch squares, sugar cookies, and alcoholic slush were some of her specialities, not to mention her homemade soup. 

In 2001 Harvey, Dolores and Kevin expanded the farm by building a 100 stall dairy milking parlour barn.  She was so proud of this huge accomplishment. Dolores was a big part of the business by doing the farm books for all the years she was on the farm and continued to do it until August of 2022. Dolores loved spending time in her large vegetable garden and her flower gardens where she grew many beautiful roses.

Dolores played Solo on Thursday nights, and she and Harvey played Euchre every Sunday night. In fact, if her family were over for Sunday night supper, she would have them help set up the chip bowls for cards on the TV tables, and then kick them out before the card players arrived! The love and skill of Euchre were something she passed on to her children and some of her grandchildren. She tried teaching some of the grandchildren how to play, but she said some were a “lost cause” and gave up teaching them! 🙂 Every year at the Graf family Christmas, there were countless games of Euchre, and if you were on her team, you could count yourself lucky as she usually came home with a few winnings! 

Dolores’ faith was very important to her. Her faith and her family helped her persevere through the challenges that life threw her way. She always had a rosary with her, and her Miraculous Medal around her neck. Dolores was involved with the Catholic Women’s League in Chepstow and ran bingo in the church basement every Tuesday from Spring to Fall from 1988 until 1994. Once her children were older, Dolores began travelling with her siblings and her friends. She went to the Holy Land where she rode camels, and then to Rome where she saw the Pope from a distance. She and Harvey travelled to Texas twice to visit close friends and always came home with some hilarious stories. Other trips with Harvey included an Alaskan cruise and also travelled to California to see the Rose Bowl Parade.   

In 2009, Harvey’s health declined until he passed away on August 22, 2011. Dolores remained on the farm along with Kevin as this was the place she loved to be. Dolores was happiest when she would be at home, sitting in her rocking chair, her family over to visit, and could sit for hours watching the many trucks, tractors and milk truck come in and out of the farm, with a Diet Coke, or a glass of Bailey’s on ice in hand. Since August 2022, Dolores’s health started to decline. Her poor health led her to leave the farm in April 2023. She transferred to Brucelea Haven in June 2023. All she truly wanted was to go back home to the farm. However she was lucky enough to still come to the farm for special holidays and her birthday. She passed away at Brucelea Haven, Walkerton on Monday, January 15, 2024, in her 88th year.

Loving mother of Karen (Dave) Webb of Chepstow, Sharon (Jim) Kelly of Cargill, Kevin Murray, Joan (Ron) Ernst, all of Chepstow, and Dianne (Keith) Benninger of Waterloo. Cherished grandmother of Laura, Mike, Dan, Brian (Alicia), Steven, Heather (Mitch), Jana (Dean), Ashley (Luke), Matt, Kyle, and Eric. Dear sister of Marie Waechter of Chepstow, Marlene Voisin of Formosa, and Bernice (Roy) Henhoeffer of Walkerton. She will be lovingly remembered by sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Eileen Weishar, Joan and Don Berberich, and Jane and Mac MacGregor as well as many nieces and nephews. Dolores was predeceased by her husband Harvey, her daughter Janice, her sister Eileen Waechter, her brothers Maurice and Jerome, and her parents Albert and Leona (nee Waechter) Graf.

A Funeral Mass honouring Dolores’ life will be held at Mary Immaculate Church, Chepstow, on Saturday, January 20, 2024, at 11 a.m. A celebration of her life will follow from 12 noon until 4 p.m. at the Chepstow Lions Park with words of remembrance shared at 12:30 p.m. Spring interment in Mary Immaculate Cemetery, Chepstow.

Memorial donations to the Brucelea Haven Activation Fund, Saugeen Hospice Inc., or Mary Immaculate Church would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.

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