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Elmer F. Murray Jr., a retired Great Lakes captain, died Thursday (May 30, 2002) in Beechwood Nursing Home, Getzville, after a long illness. He was 86.

Born in Goshen, Ind., Murray was one of 14 children.

Known as "Captain," he began his career as a deckhand with the Buffalo-based American Steamship Co. in 1934. He worked his way up the ranks, eventually becoming captain/master. Over a career that spanned 42 years, he captained 14 freighters that sailed the lakes to many ports. He retired in 1976.

Murray served as president of the International Ship Masters Association, and was a member of the U.S. Propeller Club and an officer with the Buffalo Ship Masters Association.

He served with the Coast Guard Reserve during World War II.

In retirement, he and his wife of 35 years, the former Vera Boore, enjoyed traveling to Europe, Hawaii and throughout the United States. Murray also enjoyed golf, playing three times a week.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by three daughters, Nancy Skill of Getzville, Karol Martin of Cheektowaga and Margaret Lari-ver of Amherst; a son, James of Chicago; eight sisters; five brothers; and seven grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. today in St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church, 200 St. Gregory Court, Amherst. Prayers will be said at 8:45 in Amigone Funeral Home, 5200 Sheridan Drive, Amherst. Burial will be in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Town of Tonawanda.


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