Robert “Bobby” Thomas Murray III, 45, of Newtown, died January 7 at Bethel Healthcare Center after a long and courageous battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). He was born June 17, 1968, in Providence, R.I., to his beloved parents Isabelle MacKenzie Murray and Robert Thomas Murray, Jr.
Mr Murray was an avid sports fan, playing Little League baseball and Pop Warner football, which became his love. He was captain of the Newtown High School football team in 1985, earning the Newtown Bee Defensive MVP Award, went on to a postgraduate year at Trinity Pawling Prep being captain of the football team, as well as earning its MVP award and finishing his football career at Washington & Jefferson College, which came in second place nationally for NCAA Division 3, in 1987.
Later in life he dedicated his time to coaching Pop Warner football in Newtown and worked in various sales jobs, including Boar’s Head and Red Bull, until he retired in 2008.
After being diagnosed with ALS in 2005, Mr Murray went on to volunteer in various clinical trials at the Lou Gehrig Foundation at Columbian Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, developed an ALS Support Group at Bethel Healthcare, and was the president of Patient Advocacy and president of Resident Council at Bethel Healthcare. He was also was an active participant on the staff interviewing panels at Bethel Healthcare.
He received various awards for his determination and heroic behavior while battling this disease, which included the Spirit of Planetree, Caregiver of the Year Award in 2009 at Bethel Healthcare and the 2012 Seventh Annual Hope and Dreams Robin Arnold Humanitarian Award presented by the National MDA, for all of his hard work and dedication to increasing awareness and fighting for a cure by supporting such charities as ALS Family Charitable Foundation, Voices for Joanie, ALS Association, and Augie’s Quest. He was determined to make a difference in ALS even when doing so meant being courageous, determined, and strong.
Other than his father, his sisters Lee Murray Moore, and her husband Doug, of Westford, Mass., and Kerry Murray of Stamford; several nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles; numerous cousins and friends; and the compassionate caregivers at Bethel Healthcare survive Mr Murray. He was predeceased by his mother.
Funeral services will take place Saturday, January 11, at 12:30 pm, in St Rose of Lima, 46 Church Hill Road, Newtown, with a Mass of Christian Burial. Friends may call Friday, January 10, from 1 to 3 pm and 5 to 8 pm, in the Honan Funeral Home, 58 Main Street, Newtown.
In lieu of flowers the family is asking for donations to be made to the following charities in Mr Murray’s memory: Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation, PO Box 605, Newtown CT 06470 or www.jesselewischooselove.org; Bethel Healthcare Center Resident Counsel, 13 Parklawn Drive, Bethel CT 06801; or Voices for Joanie, 5 Glenwood Road, New Milford CT 06776 or www.voiceforjoanie.org.