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Born: Jan 19, 1961

Date of Passing: Oct 30, 2023

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January 19, 1961 - October 30, 2023

Murray Leonard Watson, a beloved member of the Winnipeg community and a local woodcarver, passed away surrounded by his family on October 30, 2023, at Riverview Health Centre.

Murray's artistic journey began in his youth, as his creative talent was evident from an early age. His knack for drawing and his passion for artistic expression were already well-known. As a teen, he entered the autobody course at Kildonan East Collegiate but found the nature of the program a mismatch for his vibrant creative spirit.

Following his heart, Murray sought out his true passion and enrolled in the Advertising Art program at Red River College. This educational endeavour marked the beginning of a lifelong commitment to his art. Murray decided to venture out on his own, specializing in bird carvings. Murray showcased his masterpieces at local craft fairs and farmers markets, gaining recognition for his exceptional craftsmanship.

Among his many artistic achievements, Murray became locally renowned for his “wood spirit” carvings, a series of beautiful creations that adorn the Bois-des-Esprit Forest creating a sense of magic and wonder in the natural surroundings.

Murray’s artistic talents extended beyond the creation of his wooden masterpieces. He generously shared his expertise by serving as a judge for local carving competitions. As well, he created beautiful snow sculptures for the Festival de Voyageur, captivating audiences with his imagination and skill.

While his art was his passion, Murray was also known for his gentle personality and sense of humour. His laughter was infectious, and he and his sister, Barb, shared a treasure trove of inside jokes. He had a love for dancing, music, and singing karaoke, with the Osborne Legion being a favourite venue for his performances.

Murray’s kindness knew no bounds, especially towards his elders. He was known for his patient and caring nature, regularly taking his mother and aunt on day trips, bringing joy and warmth to their lives.

Murray Leonard Watson leaves behind a legacy of creativity, laughter, and love. He will be remembered for his remarkable artistic talents, his captivating wood carvings, and his unwavering kindness towards others. His spirit lives on in the beauty he created and the joy he brought to the lives of those who had the privilege of knowing him. He will be dearly missed.

Murray is survived by his mother Joan (nee: Nairn); sisters, Janis Necsefor (Alex) and Barb (Gerhard); Aunts Pat, Nettie, Armande; Uncle Bill; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends; and a community that will forever cherish his memory.

He was predeceased by his father Leonard; sister Lynne Wall; brother-in-law Gary Wall; and great-nephew Morgan Leclerc.

A gathering in Murray’s honour with family and friends will be announced at a later date in 2024.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Murray’s memory to Save Our Seine or, The Wildlife Haven Centre, Iles des Chenes, MB.

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Nov 04, 2023

Condolences & Memories (13 entries)

  • I knew Murray from kareoke. He found a group of us who enjoyed singing as much as he did. He was quiet and enjoyed the music and camaraderie of the people there. His carvings were well known and valued. He will be missed by all at Kareoke. Rest in peace Murray sing a song or two up there. Bonny McKay - Posted by: Bonny McKay (Friend) on: Nov 13, 2023

  • I met Murray Watson at Karaoke 🎤 in 2017. He was friendly, kind, caring, humble and talented. A great singer and artist. I saw Murray in the late summer of this year 2023 when he delivered a whimsical wood 🪵 carving that I had ordered. I was fortunate to know him. He was a gentleman. A fine human being that genuinely cared about animals and people. Rest in peace my friend. - Posted by: Hanna Heinrichs (Friend ) on: Nov 12, 2023

  • My husband Ron and I knew Murray through karaoke and as a proud owner of 1 of his carvings. Our condolences to his family. - Posted by: Elaine Kohler (Friend) on: Nov 12, 2023

  • So very surprised and saddened when I came upon notice of Murray’s passing. Such a nice man that I was lucky enough to meet while admiring and purchasing his work. I have three of Murray’s pieces, purchased many years ago, and are much loved. My sympathy and condolences to Murray’s family and loved ones, and to his friends on this loss Sandy Dimma November 12, 2023 - Posted by: Sandy Dimma (Admirer of Murray’s work) on: Nov 12, 2023

  • Murray and I went to Morse Place Jr High together. He was such a talented artist even at that age. I saw him at the WAG in 2017 where he was selling his art. As I live by the Spirit Trail, I was familiar with his beautiful work. It was nice to catch up with him then. My condolences to his family and friends. He left a remarkable legacy for us all to enjoy. Rest in Peace, Murray - Posted by: Lisa (former classmate) on: Nov 11, 2023

  • I first met or literally bumped into Murray during a hike to Bois-des-Espirit Forest. He was carving an owl, a short hello turned into almost a weekly meet in the Forest. I always wondered who did these beautiful carvings. When I didn’t show up next time he joked thinking I broke my foot. He was a very talented person. His memory will live on forever in the forest. I purchased one of his pieces on Etsy. He is missed by many people like myself. My sincere sympathies to his family. RIP Murray. - Posted by: Susan (Friend) on: Nov 09, 2023

  • I’ve known Murray for about 30 years as a fellow woodcarver we shared a our love for woodcarving, he and I would go out in my boat in Selkirk looking for driftwood and cotton wood bark, I remember telling him I bought a lift of butternut wood, he was soooooo excited I wanted to purchase the whole lift, I couldn’t bare to sell it to him so I just gave him 1/2 the lift. I thought it’s would last him for years, 5 months later he asked if I had any left, I laughed out load and said you carved it all and he said yes, well I sold him my 1/2 I had left as I knew he must have made a few bucks, so yes many happy times over the years with him and I and will miss you, merry and I’m tearing wood chips about your passing, I’ve never met his family but my condolences the Watson family and please contact me as I would like to carve something in his memory - Posted by: Robert Unik (Old friend ) on: Nov 05, 2023

  • Rest softly dear friend. It was fun working with you at the old Extra foods (St. Anne's, now No frills) You have earned your wings. Fly free. I will miss not seeing you. - Posted by: Christine (Friend) on: Nov 05, 2023

  • I got to know Murray through meeting and talking with him at the St. Norwood Market where I would be with the Woodturner's Association, and we find ourselves talking about wood and carving and working with your hands. I always found Murray friendly and happy, surrounded by his "spirits" and other carvings. I handled his carvings, and the care and love he put into his work was so evident. I was always struck and drawn to his gentle nature and humility that is uncharacteristic for many artists, and I am so surprised and saddened to hear of his passing. Too soon, for sure, and with unfinished work to be done. I'm so sad, and although I do not know his family, my heart goes out to them, for I am certain Murray was loved and will be greatly missed. My condolences to all. - Posted by: Herman de Vries (Friend) on: Nov 04, 2023

  • I was so sorry to see that Murray Watson passed. I signed up for my first woodcarving class at Lee Valley years ago. Murray was the instructor. Needless to say I really enjoyed the class and signed up for several more. Murray was so talented and knowledgeable. His art work was amazing! I am so sorry for your loss. Christine Murray - Posted by: Christine Murray (Student ) on: Nov 04, 2023

  • Nan, Jan, Barb, Tyler, Tiff, Trent and extended family members, my sincere condolences on your loss. I know how very proud you were of Murray's talents and how much you all loved and cared for him as he did you. Cherished memories will assist you in dealing with your loss at this difficult time. Rest in peace, Murray! - Posted by: Vicki Lazaruk (friend) on: Nov 04, 2023

  • It was an honour to work with Murray over the years, he truly was such a kind, gentle soul. He was so humble about his talent it was kind of funny how embarrassed he would almost be whenever he brought new pieces into my store as my staff and I would be so excited looking them over. I am grateful to have known him and to have been a part of sharing his beautiful carvings to so many people. We really will miss him so much. Our condolences to his family on this great loss. Rest well Murray. - Posted by: Sherrie Versluis (Business) on: Nov 04, 2023

  • Mrs. Watson, Janice, and Barb, I am so sorry to hear of Murray's passing. He was such a talented artist. I would run into him at the farmers market and we always have great conversations. He would fill me in on everybody and what was happening in your lives. He was a very gentle, kind person. Again I'm so sorry for your loss. - Posted by: Margaret Morton (friend) on: Nov 04, 2023

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