Cleo Lavon Drumiler Snarr Murray, beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and aunt, passed away peacefully on December 13, 2021, in Salt Lake City at the age of 96. She was born March 28, 1925, to Nettie H. Drumiler and Elbert P. Drumiler in Ogden, Utah, the youngest of five children, a beautiful redhead full of spunk and fun, with a keen intellect, and a vivacious personality. She graduated from Ogden High School in 1943 with outstanding secretarial skills which she used the rest of her life. While still in high school, she worked after school and summers at the Ogden Army Depot.
After graduation, she married her high school sweetheart Newell McCarroll “Mac” Snarr and they had a daughter Carol Ann. Mac died in 1945 at the age of 19 while serving in WWII with the Army Air Corps when his plane was shot down en route to Berlin on a bombing mission.
Two years later, while working as a secretary at the U.S. Forest Service Regional Office in Ogden, she met William E. “Bill” Murray, who was employed in research. In 1947 they were married and had two daughters, Janet and Colleen, and a son Ken. Ken died tragically in a private plane crash in 1979 at the age of 29. Bill died in 2006.
During Bill’s career in the Forest Service, he was transferred many times as he advanced professionally. In 1954 they left Ogden for Fairfield, ID, where Bill was the ranger of the Sawtooth National Forest. While there, Cleo taught piano lessons and played for funerals and other community events. Two years later they moved back to Ogden, then to Boise, ID, where she was a Girl Scout leader and a Cub Scout Den mother.
Another move took them to Reno, NV, for nine months and then to San Francisco where they lived in Terra Linda, CA, Marin County, where Cleo worked as the Administrative Assistant for the Parks and Recreation District and attended College of Marin to obtain her certification as a legal secretary. She then worked for an attorney in San Rafael until Bill was transferred to Washington, D.C. in 1969.
For the next six years, Cleo, Bill, and Colleen lived in Vienna, VA, Media, PA, and Springfield, MD, during which time Cleo continued to work as a legal secretary. In 1979 Bill transferred back to the Forest Service Regional Office in Ogden, and in 1979 they retired, sold their home and bought a condo. In their retirement years, they enjoyed traveling and having two condos, first in St. George, then in Las Vegas where they enjoyed golfing and entertaining friends. In 1996 they sold both condos and moved to Salt Lake City to be closer to their daughters and grandchildren.
Cleo always enjoyed entertaining and had a reputation for being a wonderful hostess. An outstanding cook, some of her specialties included Chicken Divan, pot roast and gravy, pies of all kinds, and the best homemade rolls you have ever eaten. Her other interests included swimming, hiking, music, art, literature, bridge, needlework, knitting, crocheting, and golf, which she learned to play when she was in her 50’s. She was active in Pine Tree, the Forest Service women’s auxiliary, the Ogden Women’s Hiking Club, and the Ladies Literary Club in SLC.
By nature, Cleo was a sweet, intelligent, and loving person. Her ever present smile, her laugh, her wit, and genuine kindness to everyone, marked her long life. She did her best to be optimistic, even during difficult times. While her quality of life was much diminished the past year, her final day was peaceful, giving her daughters the opportunity to say goodbye and express their love.
Her daughters have wonderful memories of their mom. Janet said Cleo taught her to cook one month before her wedding, and cooking is still one of her favorite pursuits. She also taught them to sew. She encouraged Carol and Colleen to study piano, a skill that has given them both much pleasure.
Cleo encouraged Carol in her academic pursuits and fostered her love of reading by having books, magazines, and newspapers in their home, giving her books as gifts and taking frequent trips to the library.
Despite their frequent moves, Cleo always created a warm, welcoming, and attractive home. Her family said, “Our mom’s ability to make friends and ease us into our new schools and make new friends influenced us all as we pursued our lives. She was a model of maternal love, personal integrity, and positive thinking.”
Cleo is survived by her daughters and sons-law: Carol (Snarr) Spackman Moss (Bob Moss-deceased), Janet Murray Storbo (Russ), Colleen Murray Mullins (Jeff): Grandchildren, Shelley Purser (Troy), Jill Thackeray (Chris), Heather Rowland (Luke), Shannon Vetos (Travis-deceased) Shawn Storbo (Katie), AJ Mullins (Sarah), Brittany Mullins and ten great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her first husband, Mac Snarr, her second husband, Wm. E. “Bill” Murray, son, Kenneth Murray, her parents, her brothers Dan Drumiler, Elbert P. Drumiler, and sisters Mary Wood and Pearl Tate.
Cleo’s family would like to thank the caring staff and caregivers at The Wellington Senior Living where she spent 14 happy years and had many good friends. A special thanks to her daughter Colleen, who managed her care and moved her into her home during her final year and cared for her with loving tenderness.
Due to concerns about Covid-19, a private memorial will be held at a future date to celebrate Cleo’s life and legacy. If you are inclined, consider a donation to your favorite charity in Cleo’s honor.