A couple of days late for Memorial Day, but I wanted to share this with you. I often tell the story of John McMurtaugh, a D-Day Veteran I had the privilege of serving for a dozen years or so before his passing. I remember him telling me he literally pissed in his pants as he ran up the beach in Normandy. I found his obituary online. He had an amazing life and I’m fortunate to have known him. I remember one time when I was much younger and crazier on the boat, John was north of 80 when he was struggling mightily to bring in a fish and I was snorting and stomping because I just wanted to get the boat turned around and get back on the fish. It turned out John was cranking on a double-header, both rockfish over 36 inches! I still remember how he looked exhausted and disheveled after the battle; a great memory for me!
From the Washington Post:
“John E. McMurtagh, 87, former vice president of the Shoreham Hotel in Washington, died after a heart attack May 30 at Suburban Hospital.
A well-known purveyor of convention accommodations in the District, Mr. McMurtagh worked for the Wardman Park Hotel from 1946 until he joined the nearby Shoreham, where he worked for 17 years. He retired as the Washington representative for the Chicago Convention and Tourist Bureau in 1990.
Born in Ontario, Canada, Mr. McMurtagh moved to the United States as a child and was raised in Green Bay, Wis. He graduated from St. Norbert College in DePere, Wis. and attended Georgetown University’s law school. During World War II, he served in the Army infantry and landed on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944.
The date of June 6 held a particular fascination for Mr. McMurtagh, one of his sons said, because it was D-Day and the anniversary of his high school and college graduations. His son said Mr. McMurtagh expected to die on that date. He did not, but his funeral was held then.
Mr. McMurtagh fought until the Battle of the Bulge, when his platoon was overrun and he was captured. He was sent to Stalag 12A in Limburg, Germany, where he remained until the war’s end. Among his military awards were the Silver Star, two awards of the Bronze Star and two awards of the Purple Heart.
He came to Washington after the war and went into the hotel business. He served on President John F. Kennedy’s housing committee for the 1961 inauguration. He was past president of the Hotel Greeters of America and the Hotel Sales Managers Association. He was a lifetime member of the SKAL Club of Washington, an international travel industry organization.
Mr. McMurtagh took at least one cruise per year for 22 years with his wife. He also enjoyed fishing. He was a member of St. Jane Frances de Chantal Catholic Church in Bethesda for 50 years.
His wife of 58 years, Kathleen A. McMurtagh, died in January. Survivors include two sons, Shawn McMurtagh of Palm Springs, Calif., and Kevin McMurtagh of Atlanta; a brother; and two grandchildren.”
Also, I can’t acknowledge Memorial Day without mentioning my favorite Vets/current Service Members:
Lt. Bill Ide, USN; Capt. Warren Ide, USN (retired); Col. Richard Marcinowskii, US Army (retired); Capt. Greg Niemann, US Army; Jack Stephan. I am very proud of all of you guys!