Fundraiser to be held for Sky Ranch founder - KOTA Territory News

Fundraiser to be held for Sky Ranch founder


Thursday marks the 37th anniversary of the death of Sky Ranch founder Father Don Murray. Murray died in a plane crash with one of his pupils, but is still far from forgotten.

Now his family is hoping to find new resting places for Father Murray and two pupils who found purpose under his guidance.

Kenny walker remembers a difficult childhood and an early intervention that changed his life in 1969.
"The streets were my school. All my friends are dead. If it wasn't for God and Father Don, I wouldn't be alive today," said Walker.

Walker met Father Don Murray when he was sent to the Sky Ranch for boys, a place for troubled kids to get a fresh start.
"Boys came from all over, Chicago, Hawaii, Puerto Rico. The mission was to give them a better chance at life. Working the ranch and gardens, and it worked," said Joan Murray Lewis, Father Don's niece.
"We loved him more than life itself because we wouldn't have a life without him. He had that dream that every kid would be free from whatever problem he had," said Walker.
Father Don died suddenly in a plane crash with one of his pupils in 1975. Both were buried on Sky Ranch, which closed last year.
"They hit a mountain. Kevin was a good kid. So was Will, he died in a farm accident in 1967. They were good kids," said Murray-Lewis.
Now, Father Don's family is hoping to raise $10,000 to move his remains, along with the two boys, to St. Aloysius cemetery in Sturgis.
"It was important to the families when the boys died. They said the happiest the boys were was at Sky Ranch with father," said Murray-Lewis.
"Father Don was their father. Father Don-those boys are with him," said Walker.
Walker, who credits his life and success to Father Don, says he's confident father and the boys will soon be resting close to home.
"Its' gonna happen because a lot of people knew him and how great of  man he was. He did so much for other people, God will make it happen," said Walker.

A fundraiser is help move the boys remains along with Father Don's will be held on October 20 from 4 to 11p-m, at the Nite Owl-Knuckle building in Sturgis.

The organizers are asking for donations of Silent Auction items, baked goods, and larger items for our raffle. Cash donations can be sent to the First Interstate Bank under the account of Joan Lewis- "Bringing Them Home".

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