Lee Hollington Murch
Lee Hollington Murch, of Whitefield, died at daybreak on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at Togus VA Medical Center in Chelsea. He was 84 years old and died of natural causes.
Lee didn’t want an obituary. He was a private person who was happiest with his cats at home in his cabin in the woods. However, in the months since his passing, his community has asked again and again for a remembrance of him. This obituary is that remembrance for all who knew him and a celebration of one of his favorite days of the year – his birthday.
Lee was born on Dec. 19, 1934 in San Diego, Calif. He was the son of George Hamilton Murch and Ethel Annette (Hollington) Murch. Lee grew up in San Diego and graduated from Point Loma High School in 1952. He went on to graduate from Yale University in 1956 with a Bachelor’s degree in English where he was a member of Saybrook College. After college, Lee joined the Navy and received a commission as an officer. He would serve as a tactical air control officer and would rise to the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade. After his honorable discharge from the Navy in 1960, Lee resided in Boston for a time. There he fed his love of literature working in small bookshops and renting out rooms in his townhouse at 690 Massachusetts Avenue. He moved to Maine in the early 1970s, as the story goes, “To follow a bunch of hippies to a sort of a commune.” Soon after that, Lee bought a small plot of land and moved into his cabin, built by a friend, by the Sheepscot River in Whitefield.
Lee engaged in different lines of work throughout his life, but his lifelong passion – that for which he wanted to be remembered – was always books and literature. He was a voracious reader and loved the beat poets, biographies, and classic and new fiction. Lee served on the volunteer board of the Whitefield Library where his knowledge of literature and books found a home. In addition to books, he was also enamored with history, both of his hometown of San Diego and of his longtime home in Maine. He was the treasurer for the Whitefield Historical Society as well as a supporter of the San Diego Historical Society. Lee loved crosswords, listening to Public Radio, and a good glass of wine with his birthday dinner.
Lee received a natural burial at Cedar Brook Burial Ground in Limington shortly after his death. An apple tree will be planted by his side in the spring, just as he imagined.
Lee is survived by his brother, Thomas Murch of Chula Vista, Calif.; and his goddaughter, Hannah Barth Bonaparte of Los Angeles, Calif.; as well as numerous friends and neighbors.
Remembrances may be made to his goddaughter at 1625 Granville Ave. #301, Los Angeles, CA 90025, or by donating to the charity of your choice.