2006 - Marion Murray: a legacy of vitality and love
Anne's Spring 2006 Tour began in Newport News, Virginia on March 15 and was intended
to end in Flint, Michigan on April 9. But it was cut short by news that her mother,
Marion Murray, had suffered a series of strokes during heart surgery. Anne and her
road family immediately loaded up the buses in North Dakota and drove straight home
to Nova Scotia – in time for Anne to join her whole family at her mother's side.
Marion passed on peacefully in her sleep on April 10, 2006.
"At 92 years old, Mom had as much vitality as someone in their sixties, but she
needed the heart surgery to continue to enjoy her quality of life. She told us before
the operation, 'I might come through this and I might not. If I don't, you'll just
have to find a way to carry on without me.' But nothing can prepare you for the loss
of your mother, at any age."
- Anne Murray
Anne and Mrs. Murray
Anne's father, Dr. Carson Murray, had died in 1980 at the young age of 72 from
complications of leukemia. He had suffered from the disease for several years and was
forced to retire from medicine early. "It was awful to see Dad lose his quality of life,
so we didn't want that for Mom," Anne adds with conviction.
It just happened that the 1980 Juno Awards in Toronto, Ontario, were on the day of Dr.
Murray's funeral in Springhill, Nova Scotia. Anne and her family gathered round the
television and watched in stunned amazement as Anne won four Junos - Female Vocalist
Of The Year, Country Female Vocalist Of The Year, Album Of The Year for
New Kind Of Feeling,
and Single Of The Year for I Just Fall In Love Again.
"Mom was a very young 67 when we lost Dad," she continues. "They had a wonderful
marriage! He had always been the 'kingpin' of our family…the hero who saved lives all
the time. He led an exemplary life, and Mom was there to back him.
"When Dad died, Mom blossomed in her own right, pursuing areas of her own interest,
like the hospital auxiliary and other volunteer projects," Anne says with obvious pride.
"We had a lot of fun together, particularly at Springhill events like the community
centre fundraising project and during my summers in Nova Scotia. Now I feel very lucky
to be able to spend so much time with my own children."
Anne hadn't been so lucky through most of her earlier career. She was at her peak when
Dawn was born in 1978 and was away on tour for 10 days at a time when Will and Dawn
were in school. Like so many working moms, Anne missed her kids terribly and felt
guilty about being away so much.
"Dawn had a really tough road when she was little because she had ear problems and
couldn't fly with me," Anne says. "We got those fixed when she was old enough, and
then she developed motion sickness, a lot of food sensitivities and, eventually, was
diagnosed with anorexia. It was really rough."
But both Dawn and Will are musically gifted and, as young adults, began to love singing
and performing as much as their famous mother.
Anne's talented kids
"They were both late bloomers," Anne laughs. "I don't know if you could tell, but
they really didn't want to be part of my Christmas television specials when they were
younger! We had always sung as a family for fun at home, but they weren't interested
in performing in public.
Will, Anne, Phil Ramone (producer) and Dawn
"Then, suddenly, in their early 20s, they started doing their own music and willingly
joining me in projects. I'm certainly proud of them because they're both so good."
While Will decided to study languages at university and perform as a drummer and a
singer for the pure fun of it, Dawn was actively pursuing her singing career. She
made her recording debut in 1996, singing background vocals on Anne's self-titled
album. The two also recorded the duet Let There Be Love in 1999 for Anne's
What A Wonderful World album.
"She is gifted with a beautiful, angelic voice," Anne says of Dawn who launched her
first CD in 2008. "It's just magnificent. I'm glad that she's so good because, quite
honestly, I'm a perfectionist and I would have trouble encouraging her otherwise.
But Dawn is extraordinary."