REESE MURRAY loved the water. When he wasn't piloting his 25-foot boat off the coast of Atlantic City, he and his wife were on cruises through the Caribbean.
"Anything to be close to the water," said his wife, the former Lisa Miller. "That's why we had a house in Atlantic City, to be near the ocean. We could see it from our deck.
"When he couldn't keep up maintenance on the boat, we took cruises to keep that feel of water running through his veins."
Unfortunately, the interior of their Shore house was badly damaged by Superstorm Sandy last October. They were just getting it back together when Reese developed an infection that damaged his heart.
Reese Murray, a 28-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, an Army paratrooper and a man whose infectious good humor made him many friends, died May 20. He was 74 and lived in Southwest Philadelphia.
"Reese was one of those special people that God created," his family said. "He was the kind of person that you liked and fell in love with the minute you met him.
"His beautiful smile, his warm heart and his caring manner were all of the characteristics that made the man that we all knew and loved."
His mother-in-law, Frances Miller, once said, "If you know someone who did not like Reese, then steer clear of them, because they have a problem."
She said that his death has "left a void in her heart."
Reese was born in Philadelphia to Emerson and Catherine Murray. He graduated from West Philadelphia High School, and entered the Army in 1963. He was stationed with an airborne unit at Fort Bragg, N.C.
"He jumped out of airplanes," his wife said. "I couldn't believe it."
He joined the police force in 1968. He served in the 16th District at 39th and Lancaster, the warrant unit, and the 12th District at 65th and Woodland, from which he retired in 1993.
Reese and Lisa were married on Aug. 12, 1972. They had no children but they had plenty of dogs and cats to love.
In his retirement, Reese enjoyed breakfast and lunch get-togethers with a large contingent of friends on both sides of the Delaware.
Reese and Lisa had dreamed of having a house on the Jersey Shore for many years before they were able to do it in 1986. Reese didn't fish; he just reveled in being out on the ocean in one of a number of boats he had in his life.
Besides his wife, he is survived by many nieces and nephews.