On Sept. 9, 2021, at 10:42 p.m., Rita Murray lost her brave battle to pancreatic cancer, surrounded by her family and friends. She was an amazing mother, wife, grandmother, sister-in-law, sister and friend, who created memories and impacted so many through her almost 77 years. She always had a smile on her face and delighted those around her with her beautiful demeanor.
Rita was born Sept. 27, 1944, in St. Louis, Missouri, to Donald G. and Dorothy (Marion) Hungerford. They moved to the small town of Rapelje, Montana, and Rita graduated from Rapelje High School in 1962.
Rita was passionate about travel, so she followed her dream and attended Weaver Airline Personnel School in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1966, moving from the small little town of Rapelje, Montana, and then worked for Continental Trailways as a hostess traveling up and down the East Coast. She also graduated from the Capitol School of Business in Helena, Montana, in December 1966.
Following graduation, she worked at the Security Bank in Billings in 1967. That same year she met the love of her life, Keith D. Murray, who she married on Oct. 14, 1967. She moved to Powell, where she and Keith would start their new life memories at Murraymere Farms. From there on, Rita was an amazing stay-at-home mom and housewife.
Rita loved to be a “curator of collectables.” She especially loved antiques, dolls, creating different themes, decorating for the various holidays and took pure pride in her house. She loved her little log cabin nestled in her backyard. Rita enjoyed gardening, flowers and traveling. She always dreamt of traveling to New Zealand and Australia, which she wasn’t able to live out, but she absolutely loved to fly. She did meet her travel goal of visiting all 50 states as well as parts of Africa and Europe. In 2007, she fulfilled her 40-year dream of climbing Heart Mountain 11 days before her 63rd birthday, thanks to her daughter Val. She loved giving others cards and putting together beautiful family dinners as a tradition.
When you see an airplane in the sky or during take off on your own flight, think of Rita. She always said “travel while you are young to have adventures, because age creeps up on you and you won’t have the opportunity.”
Rita had a spark like no one you have ever met before. She was always humble, always worried about others and loved to laugh. She was someone you could talk to for hours and was one to never run out of questions. She loved learning about other people’s lives and it showed a true testament of how much she cared for her friends, family and loved ones. It was never about her and always about others.
Until the moment she left us, she constantly worried about inconveniencing her family and never wanted to be the first to go between she and Keith. It’s an unconditional love that they shared for over 53 years. They truly grew old together and hold the kind of love that we all desire. Truly to have and to held, until death do us part.
Rita was an amazing mother, friend and someone we all looked to for advice. No matter how busy she was, she took the time to take our call. She would always say “I just love to get your call; it’s never a bad time.”
We will all miss her dearly and are so thankful for all the sweet memories we have all made together. We know she is looking down upon us and will continue to do so and be a part of each and every one of our lives.
When you see that little butterfly, bluebird or cardinal, it will be Rita saying hello. Plant a flower or tree in her honor and name it “Rita.” It will watch over you, bring you pure joy and a little smile each time you look at it. We will all remember such a beautiful and amazing woman who was a huge part of our lives. She will be missed by all those who loved her.
Rita is survived by her husband Keith Murray; four children and their spouses: Bryon and Veesha Murray, Valerie (Murray) and Mark Rentschler, Kenton and Sherri Murray, Tiffany (Murray) and Alain Darwich; six grandchildren: Rodney and spouse Kassi Murray, Desiree and spouse Patrick Sullivan, Wyatt Murray, Levi Murray, Matteo Darwich, and Alyssa Darwich; sister Linda “Lerdy” and George Knutson; sisters-in-law, Linda Murray and Lori Hungerford; Lori’s beautiful daughter Kim and her sweet children; five step-grandchildren and five grand puppies.
She was preceded in death by her mother Dorthy Damm, brother Wayne Hungerford, father Donald G. Hungerford, stepfather Bob Damm, father-in-law Bruce Murray and mother-in-law Darla Murray.
A celebration of Rita’s life will be held at a later date at the Crown Hill Cemetery in Powell, for friends and the community. In lieu of flowers or gifts to the family, please contribute to help fight and find a cure for pancreatic cancer, in Rita’s honor, to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (https://www.pancan.org) or locally, to the Powell Valley Cancer Center.