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August 16, 2012

Charles William (‘Bill’) Murray

Charles William (‘Bill’) Murray

COOPERSTOWN _ Charles William (“Bill”) Murray, formerly of Annandale, Va., and a Cooperstown resident, died Monday morning, Aug. 13, 2012, at Otsego Manor, with his family by his side. He was 81.

Bill was born Oct. 27, 1930, in Amsterdam, a son of Charles William and Anna Sabina (Spahr) Murray Sr.

Raised in Amsterdam, Bill attended Oberlin College as a music major following his high school graduation. He left college to enlist in the United States Navy on Aug. 27, 1951. He was chosen for officers training, entered college again (NROTC)  and obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in mathematics from Duke University and a commission as an Ensign.

On Aug. 7, 1954, he married the former Carolyn Ruby at the First Presbyterian Church in East Aurora.

He  was stationed in Norfolk, Va., for three years on the USS Vesole DDR-878, a destroyer. He later received his Master’s Degree from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Following his naval career, the couple made their home in  Annandale, Va. He worked for two research and development firms, Melpar Inc. and Aero Geo Astro Corp. In 1966, he was asked to join NASA at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., as an applied mathematician where he worked for 21 years. In his career at NASA/Goddard, he worked on the Apollo project, writing analyses of the Apollo spacecraft’s “Go, No-Go” decision for leaving Earth orbit to the Moon, and of the spacecraft’s re-entry trajectory into Earth’s  atmosphere upon returning from the Moon.

He was a dedicated runner and hiker: he ran over 25 marathons, including three Boston Marathons, and backpacked over 1,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail. A member of the First Presbyterian Church of Cooperstown, Bill was an avid musician who played both the piano and trombone. He enjoyed playing with various bands including The Northern Virginia Community College Orchestra, The Kings Park Band, The Cooperstown Community Band and The Small Town Big Band. For many years he volunteered at Otsego Manor playing piano and conducting sing-a -longs. He passed on his passion for nature, science, poetry and music to all who were close to him _ finding time to camp with his family, build a  homemade telescope with his son, run, sing, and teach piano to his grandchildren.

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