Frank DeVane Murrill died on the morning of June 11, 2005, with his family at his side at his home on "The Hill" in Sutter Creek. He was 79.
A memorial service will begin at 2 p.m. Friday at the Faith Lutheran Church on Highway 88 in Pioneer. Interment will be in the Garden of Valor at Sunset View Cemetery in Jackson.
Born in Plant City, Fla., Oct. 25, 1925, he was the fourth of seven children born to Dan and Clara Murrill. He grew up on a strawberry farm and attended Springhead School. His family said his love for the land began on the farm and through his active participation in 4-H, FFA and Boy Scouts. His family moved to California and he graduated from Oakland High School in 1944.
During World War II, he served in the Pacific with the 63rd Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army, where he attained the rank of technical sergeant. After the war, he returned to Oakland where he met his wife-to-be at Lakeside Baptist Church. They began studying at UC Berkeley and were married Aug. 28, 1948. They moved on to UC Davis, where he received his bachelor's and master's degrees.
He worked for the University of California Cooperative Extension Service for more than 30 years. He was a dairy farm adviser for Kern County from 1957 to 1968. He then moved with his family to Davis where he worked at the university as a specialist for the state dairy industry. He retired from the university in 1989.
He and his wife traveled all over the United States and the world, vacationing and representing the dairy industry on tours and assignments. They met friends and family in Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Russia, China, Japan, India and Australia. A highlight of their travels was a year spent in New Zealand on sabbatical where they made lifelong friends.
They retired to Sutter Creek to refurbish an old farm house and refresh a tired, old vineyard. He served his new community as foreman of the grand jury and president of the Amador County Farm Bureau. He was also a member of the Faith Lutheran Church, the Jackson Rotary Club, SIRS, University Emeriti, Cal Aggie Alumni Association and the Amador County Wine Grape Growers Association.
His family said their home on "The Hill" was his castle and he was always happy when folks stopped by to share the view from the porch and a glass of wine. The grapes grown in the family vineyard have gone into many fine wines.
He was especially proud that the 2001 Sanglovese wine made by Obscurity Cellars, in Fairplay, earned a double gold medal at the 2003 California State Fair. His family says he would have been thrilled to know that Obscurity Cellars' 2002 "Old Man Murrill" Zinfandel just won a gold medal at the 2005 Amador County Fair.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Wallace.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Ruth Murrill; and his children, Steve and Wendy Murrill of Sacramento, Kathy and Dave Jones of Roseville and John and Terry Murrill of Sutter Creek.
He is further survived by his sisters and brother, Eleanor Sparkman of Franklin, N.C.; Wanda DeVane of Lake City, Fla., Janet and Al Liedstrand of Live Oak, Fla., Edna and Roger Erickson of Concord, and Clinton and Louise Murrill of Tallahassee, Fla.; and his grandchildren, Rebecca Jones, James Harding and Andrew Murrill.
Remembrances may be sent to Hospice of Amador, P.O. Box 595, Jackson, CA 95642. Condolences may be offered to the family at danerimortuary@sbc global.net. Arrangements are under the direction of Daneri Mortuary in Jackson.