Obituary of Murray William Whipple
It is with gratitude for a long life well lived and with profound sadness we announce the passing of Murray William Whipple. Murray passed away peacefully in his sleep after a brief illness, Saturday, June 24th at Saint John Regional Hospital.
Born in February of 1929, Murray grew up on Church Ave as the active, younger brother to Ken and Marge (Jenner). He spent a happy childhood exploring nature on his bicycle, as far as it could take him, often with a slingshot in his back pocket. He spent summers at his grandparent’s cottage in Martinon, where he developed his love of boating. Never able to sit still for long, he fished in the spring, hunted in the fall and played hockey in the winter. There was a whole natural world to explore at his doorstep, which really was his sanctuary.
He attended Saint John Vocational school, studying drafting and he was recruited to work for HS Brennan and Son’s Architect before graduating. He went on to work in the Engineering Department at the Atlantic Sugar Refinery, teaching drafting and blueprint reading to his older peers. He drafted house plans on the side for others while also teaching night school. He drafted plans for his own house which he built with the help of his brother and father, where he continued to live.
In the 1960s using his vacation time, he attended teacher’s college in Moncton to complete his official teaching certification, while living in a campground at Parlee beach. For his final summer session at UNB Fredericton, he lived on his boat, it was a thunderbird named Squall, a 26 ft sailboat he built in his basement.
Murray went on to initiate the apprentice program at Vocational School where he taught for many years before moving to Barnhill Memorial School. He taught generations students and throughout his life, he would continue to be recognized as Mr. Whipple.
In 1963, Murray attended the first R.C.M.P Auxiliary Course. After that, for nearly 40 years, he participated in roadside and water patrols with the marine division, aircraft patrols for highway speeders, guard duty for visiting royalty and worked every Halloween for over 30 years. Murray retired as an Auxiliary Constable and will forever be the longest serving member of the R.C.M.P Auxiliary Force.
He possessed a lifelong love of boating, including cruising, sailing, and racing. He was a founding member of the Martinon Yacht club and in later years, a member of the Saint John Power boat club. He owned several boats, two he built (a Lightning and Thunderbird) and Cygnet, a Paceship yacht with a distinguished black mast and finally, Egret, a 36 ft Island Gypsy Troller which he moored at Saint John Marina. He said, if you had a boat, you always had a friend.
His first mate and wife was Florence (Hamilton) who he met one summer in Martinon. They went on to have two daughters, Pam and Janice and that made up his crew.
After his retirement from teaching, he was encouraged by Florence to pursue a new hobby – watercolour painting – which quickly became a passion. He was a prolific artist, taking classes from Robert Percival and later Ray Butler. One of his prized paintings was of the R.C.M.P. Wood, a commissioner-class patrol vessel which was presented to hang at the R.C.M.P. headquarters in Ottawa.
Murray was a longtime member of the Lancaster Golden Service Club and he always enjoyed the camaraderie and the opportunity to recite The Cremation of Sam McGee.
Murray was always interested in the radio, from his morse code days and onto the ham radio. The radio was his outlet to the world. Registered as VE9MW, which could also be seen on his car, he made many new friends who felt like they knew him even though many he never met in person. His silent key condolences were heartfelt across the region. Into his 90s, Murray continued to learn other technologies to communicate, even mastering how to Facetime on his iPad to his daughter and granddaughters daily.
Murray was the last of his generation and was predeceased by Florence. Murray is survived by his loving daughters, Pam (Ken), Janice (Stewart). He was known fondly as Puppy by his granddaughters Chelsey, Mandy and Cally and as Grampy to Janice’s three children, Matthew, Amanda, Meaghan and his great-grandchildren, Ava, Ethan, Aiden, Claire and Luke. He will be remembered by his nieces and nephews, many good neighbours and friends. He will be missed by many, more than words can convey.
Beginning at 9:00 am on Tuesday, June 27th, 2023, there will be a visitation at Brenan's Funeral Home, 111 Paradise Row, Saint John (506-634-7424) with a Celebration of Life at 11:00 am, with a reception to follow. For those unable to attend in person, the service will be live-streamed.