Kawartha Settlers’ Village has lost a pillar. A tribute to our dear friend.
With the passing of Earl Murray this week, Kawartha Settlers’ Village will experience a change that will be the biggest challenge it faces for the foreseeable future. Earl spent part of almost every day at the Village since it was established in 1990.
When he retired from Scarborough Hydro, Earl and his wife Doreen purchased a condominium in Edgewater in Bobcaygeon. Earl wanted to keep active and become part of his new community. He joined the LOL No.121, the Masonic Lodge and the Kawartha Shriners. Earl decided early in his retirement that he needed to keep active and use some of the many skills he possessed. So he and Doreen became members and active volunteers at Kawartha Settlers’ Village.
For many years there was no paid staff at the Village so Earl was the first person you met when you went to the Village to ask about an event, arrange a rental or offer an artefact for the Village. Earl, Neil Oliver and Byron Edney were instrumental in working with Pollard the House Mover and the contractors in the community to move, construct and renovate the many residences and other buildings that became part of the Settlers’ Village landscape.
Earl was a skilled tradesman who was always willing to take on carpentry, masonry and electrical projects. Earl often worked alone and took a lot of pride in his work. He also enjoyed working with others on various projects. This year he encouraged the board to build the new veranda on the Henderson House and helped with the construction. He also helped with the construction of the water wheel grist mill and the water system of the windmill. Over the years Earl built additions to several of the main outbuildings.
One of the major projects he undertook almost single handily was the restoration of the Fairbairn church. An important and difficult task in the restoration of old log buildings is the chinking between the logs. Examples of his excellent workmanship can be seen on many of the log buildings.
Earl took great pride in the appearance of the grounds at Settlers’ Village. He would take two days to cut the grass and then go to the Village and do the trimming on the weekend. He developed several flower beds and a rock garden to enhance the appearance of the grounds. Recently he took on the task of clearing the small trees, bushes and rocks from the east yard by the Murphy barn to expand the usable site and improve the site line from Dunn St.
You could count on Earl to do the every day tasks such as putting out the garbage, feeding the cat or shoveling the snow from steps and walks. He never complained about the many tasks and only asked for help rarely when he was going out of town. Earl was always available to help with property or equipment requests from the Quilters, Artists and Carvers who call Settlers’ Village home. Earl also pitched in to help with the many events held at the Village.
Although Earl enjoyed doing the physical work at the Village, he realized that governance was important too and he and his wife Doreen have served for many years on the board of directors. Earl’s contributions to the community were recognized when he was named Citizen of the Year in 2009.
Al Ingram, president of Kawartha Settlers’ Village, said “ he feels everyone will remember Earl when they see the street sign “ Murray Drive “ as they enter the Village.
It is unlikely we will ever have another volunteer who would duplicate Earl’s contributions to the Village.”