James D. Murtha ’51

James D. Murtha ’51 died on July 6, 2023, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

James Daggett Murtha ’51

(The following was provided by Legacy Remembers on July 25, 2023)

James “Jim” Murtha passed away, at home in Colorado Springs, on July 6, 2023. He was 94. He was preceded in death by his wife, Charlotte of seventy years, his son, James (Jim), and twin daughters, Jennifer and Janna. Jim is survived by his daughters, Gayle Murtha Nevin and her husband, Thomas VanDyke, Michelle Murtha Guenther and her husband, Stephen Guenther, grandson Sean Guenther, granddaughter Erin Guenther and several nieces and nephews. He was lovingly known, to his close family and friends, as “Bud”.

Jim was born in Bangor, Maine, to James and Ruby Murtha. He attended Maine Central Institute, Bowdoin College, and graduated from the University of Maine in 1954, as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, with a degree in civil engineering.

Jim’s service to our country would span twenty-one years. He served in Korea and the Vietnam war. He was awarded the Bronze Star and several other decorations for his tour in Vietnam and many years of active duty. He retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1975.

Post retirement would take Jim and Charlotte to Saudi Arabia for ten years, where they enjoyed the experience of a contractor’s life abroad. They returned home in 1987. Jim would go back overseas, this time to Somalia, contracting for another year.

Jim was the consummate entertainer and so full of life. With his love for playing the sax, he joined The New Horizons band in 2002. Associated with New Horizons, he would go on to play for the Gold Band, Jazz Band and, for the past fourteen years, The Dixie Duezers. The Duezers have entertained at senior centers all around the city with their big band and jazz repertoires. His favorite gigs centered around St. Patrick’s Day, where his Irish heritage shone through. Jim was still actively playing at the time of his passing.

Jim lived life to the fullest, loved his family more than life itself and was proud of his country and his service. He finally took his Honor Flight in April. He said it was the trip of a lifetime. Jim’s love of flying and military aircraft never left you wondering what flew in the sky. He knew them all.

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