Featured Resident – Frank McMurray
Frank McMurray was born into a traditional Irish family in Brooklyn, NY. He was the second of four children born to Frank and Margaret McMurray and the only boy. Growing up they moved around to a lot of different neighborhoods all within Brooklyn. He attended St. Jerome’s grade school. Frank enjoyed making model planes – from the struts to shrinking the nylon and painting. Frank started fishing at a young age to help feed the family. He grew to love fishing more when he didn’t have to go daily. He also would go clamming and crabbing. The kids in the neighborhood would play in Farragut Woods. They once built a fort and were so proud of the camouflage they covered it with until they realized the camouflage was poison ivy and poison oak.
In high school, Frank started a band called Harmony Five. He played guitar and drums and also did vocals. They were to young to play in bars where alcohol was served, but they could play weddings and other parties since the alcohol wasn’t sold by the drink. Harmony Five lasted for seven years or so. Frank also worked as a studio musician and even played for Frank Sinatra. Frank graduated from George Westinghouse Vocational Tech with a degree in optical mechanics. He did an internship making glasses and continued working there for six months after graduation. The store was closed due to the invention of plastic lenses for glasses.
He went to work in the bookkeeping department of Colonial Trust Co. He was a proponent of equal rights and opportunities of women in the workplace. He even turned down a promotion he didn’t feel he was qualified for and suggested a woman instead.
Frank met Ellen O’Donnel through his friend who needed a ride to his girlfriend’s house. Frank had been detailing his car but drove his friend over to see Kathy. Kathy was Ellen’s cousin and lived in the same building. It wasn’t love at first sight for Frank and Ellen. He took her out and then it was a couple of weeks later that he contacted her again. She already had a date for the night Frank was inquiring about so it was another week yet before they went out again. Four months later, they were engaged. After the traditional one year waiting period required by their Irish/Italian heritage, the couple wed in November of 1955.
The couple settled into married life and Frank took a job driving a school bus. They started their family in 1956 when their daughter Lisa was born. Their family grew to include Laura, Leslie, Chris and Lydia. They moved to Rhinebeck but after a year returned to Brooklyn. After driving a bus for twelve years, Frank switched careers and went to work at TWA. He started in fleet services and then moved to ramp services and finished his career in security. Frank would take Ellen to Europe on a regular basis. They went to London, Paris, Rome, Athens and more. He said it was cheaper to fly to Europe, get a hotel and go see a show than it was to see a show in New York.
Frank was transferred to Kansas City in 1972. He stayed in Platte City while Ellen and the kids remained in New York until their house sold. The couple then bought a house off of Old BB Highway just outside of Kearney. While Frank worked security for TWA, he served on both the police and firefighting teams. Frank retired in 1998 after thirty-three years of service. Ellen and he continued to travel. Ellen was killed in a car accident in 2006,
Frank moved to Westbrook Villas in September of 2009. His daughters decided that he shouldn’t be alone even though Frank was fine with being alone. Moving to Westbrook definitely changed his mind. He met Ann Webb in the dining room and the two hit it off. He was in 604 and she was in 600. In the summer of 2011, they moved into a two bedroom apartment. They recall it was around 100 degrees and the air conditioning unit in their new apartment went out.
Frank enjoys reading and music. He used to play handball. He says the best things about living at Westbrook besides Ann include the staff. He says the apartments are well kept and he enjoys the entertainment and church services that are offered.
Besides his five children, Frank has three son-in-laws, a daughter-in-law, eight granddaughters, one grandson and two great grandsons. He says that the lesson he would like to pass on to the next generations is to be kind to people. It’s important to be nice to people because God directs us to do so. He says,”If you can’t be nice, you can’t be anything.”