Cover photo for Karla Murray's Obituary
Karla Murray Profile Photo

Karla Murray

March 18, 1956 — January 17, 2022

Columbia Falls

Karla Jo Murray, 65, passed away on January 17, 2022, at Logan Health Medical Center in Kalispell after a short, brave battle with pneumonia. Her family will remember her humor, strong faith and love for them. Karla was born on March 18, 1956, to Allen and Bette Murray in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She joined her sisters Sandra, Barbara and Debbie and loved being referred to as our baby sister. She was raised with her sisters in Security, CO. When she was 5 years old she was infected with encephalitis from a mosquito bite, which caused brain damage. In spite of that obstacle, she grew into an amazing person.

She graduated from high school and lived in group homes and eventually lived on her own. Throughout her life she was immensely brave and faced difficult life challenges head on and there were many, being developmentally disabled. Her independence, determination and ability to function in a complicated world was impressive. She was a smart cookie in her own way and a loving soul. Throughout the years Karla participated in Special Olympics earning over 150 medals, of which she was so proud. Karla worked at Taco Bell for 12 years and Red Lobster for 5 while living in Colorado. She took her jobs very seriously and had a great work ethic. She vacationed with her family at Flathead Lake for years and then visited when her parents owned Sunset Resort in Bigfork and following. She lived in Colorado Springs until 2017 when she moved with her sister Barbara and Bruce to Columbia Falls.

She was an avid fan of the Denver Broncos and had all kinds of Bronco paraphernalia and clothing and enjoyed it all. She never forgot family birthdays, she would mail a birthday card a week or so ahead of time, so it got there in time and would write on the outside of the envelope “do not open until the date” and always wrote a nice letter with it, Love, Karla Murray. She had a sense of humor and you could hear her chuckle at herself after making funny comments. She would help out in the kitchen at Trinity Lutheran Camp on Flathead Lake and stay in a cabin with her niece Melanie. She loved Camp and all the kids called her Aunt Karla. She was so happy there. She loved eating at Bojangles once a week or more with her sister Barbara and going to the Columbia Falls Senior Center for old Country music on Fridays. In 2019 she was in a car accident with her sister Barbara, and a huge void was felt in her life after losing Barbara. As a result, she lived at the Brendan House, where she made many friends and enjoyed living. She loved all the activities, games and friends she made, whether it was other residents or any Staff. She could be seen playing Dominoes or Yahtzee for hours with her friends. Despite Karla’s many health issues, she touched the lives of those around her by being positive and her infectious joyful spirit was a gift to all of her care providers, Staff from all departments at Brendan House, friends and family members. She was a real trooper while being locked down for 20 months at Brendan House due to COVID. All her life she enjoyed Word Find and Crossword books, she completed many many books and said that was the only thing that got her through the lockdown.

Karla was preceded in death by her parents Allen and Bette (Long) Murray, sister Barbara Allison and brother-in-law Dale Gifford. Karla is survived by her sisters Sandra Rivera and Debbie Gifford, favorite brother in laws Bruce Allison and Tino Rivera, numerous nieces, nephews as well as great nieces and nephews, cousins and in particular Becky Long, whom she shared a very special bond with, her entire life. She visited Becky several times wherever she was living, San Francisco, Massachusetts or the high desert of Joshua Tree and Becky made sure Karla had the time of her life, with her son Dashiell, by her side. Very few people really knew Karla and if you were lucky enough to, you know what a very special person Karla was.

Rest In Peace, Karla. Knowing she is at peace in a new world of freedom from our everyday toils is gratifying. You will be so missed ‘baby sister’ Karla. A memorial service is planned for this summer celebrating Karla. Buffalo Hill Funeral Home and Crematory is caring for the family.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Karla Murray, please visit our flower store.


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