Don Murray Memorial
by Jamie Murray
MAKING WAVES, Aug./Sept. 1998
When I met Don Murray in August of 1994, he hadn't been on a surfboard in 30 years.
Growing up in Inglewood, California, Don started playing drums at age 15 and went on to form the South Bay's most notorious surf band, the Crossfires. In 1965, they became world renowned as the Turtles, had a bunch of hit records and the rest is history.
Don had looked forward to all the surfing trips he would take with his old Crossfires bandmate, Hermosa shaper Tom Stanton. They had started playing music together again and Don had just started his own computer graphics company, Mach Turtle Productions. At 50, he was happier than he'd ever been in his life.
On New Year's Day 1996, Don surfed for the very last time. Two days later on January 3rd, he entered the hospital for a complicated but routine ulcer operation. Never in our worst nightmares could we imagine that all those dreams would be left unfulfilled and that Don would never come home again. We had vowed to be married after he came out of the hospital. In honor of that promise, I now carry his name and his legacy, for I swore to continue the things he left unfinished in this life.
I am forever grateful to all at Surfrider, most notably Melissa Mate and Pierce Flynn, whose sensitivity to Don's remarkable story has now created the Don Murray Memorial which will benefit the South Bay chapter. Don grew up in the South Bay, learned to surf here and came back here toward the end of his life.
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