On January 19, after a challenging bout with pancreatic cancer, Murray Hewko stepped from earth into heaven where he was welcomed with great joy by his Savior, family members and the countless many who walk in heaven because Murray shared his love of Jesus with them. Condensing his very full life and big personality into a column in a newspaper has proved to be a daunting task, but after many attempts that ended as wadded up sheets of paper, it’s best to just start at the beginning.
Murray was born on October 25, 1951 in Winnipeg, Canada where he spent his childhood helping on the family wheat farm. It was on the farm where Murray learned the value of hard work, a character trait he held his entire life. At 15 years old he made the decision to give his life to Jesus Christ. This was a decision that not only changed the trajectory of his life, but would also come to change the lives of many. God gave him a passion for others and their need for a Savior, so he decided to attend Vancouver Bible College where he focused his studies on youth ministry. After that he spent a few years in the Northwest Territories working for a crop duster all the while continuing to teach and mentor young people.
On a trip to California he met Karen, the woman who would become the love of his life, and they were married in December of 1976. Murray promptly relocated to the U.S. where he worked in construction, eventually starting his own contracting business. He soon became restless and was feeling that he wanted to do something of more eternal value, so following God’s leading the family moved to the Navajo reservation in northern Arizona to work with Navajo churches and pastors. Here they made life-long friends and developed a love and burden for Native Americans.
Believing God was calling them to a new place of ministry, Murray and Karen and the girls moved to Ely, Nevada in 1989. Here God gave them the opportunity to share His love on multiple Shoshone reservations including; Duckwater, Ely, Ibapah (Goshute), South Fork, and Battle Mountain, always desiring to help others find peace, joy, and freedom in Jesus. During the time that Amy and Terri were in high school, Murray and Karen, impacted many kids by helping with a local church youth group. While in Ely, Murray started Hewko Construction in 1999. Leaning on the strong work ethic he learned as a child on the farm, he had no need for advertising as the work he did was his advertising. This business gave Murray the opportunity to meet and share his love for Christ with people. Clients were always left with more than a remodeled bathroom or kitchen.
More recently, instead of looking to slow down and retire, Murray decided to get his CDL to drive buses. He did this because he felt he was losing touch with young people and this allowed him to interact with kids by driving buses for countless hours all over the state of Nevada. He drove every club, classes on field trips, organizations, and sports teams, thereby giving him time with the young people he loved so much.
Many of the students became dearly loved by Murray. He cherished the time he had with them, giving them life lessons, imparting spiritual wisdom, and watching their events. He could be heard at any sporting event cheering loudly and ‘coaching’ from the bleachers.
Murray leaves behind his beloved wife, Karen, and his two daughters; Amy Hewko and Terri (Shane) McNeely, as well as his grandchildren, Olivia, Press Murray, and Quinn Poppy whom he loved so much and was so proud of. He also leaves two sisters; Judy (Dennis) Giesbrecht and Donna Logsdon and a brother; Barry (Susan) Hewko as well as cousins and many nieces and nephews.
Those who knew Murray will miss his ready smile and his willingness to stop and talk to anyone usually ending up in a meaningful conversation that left them feeling heard, known, and loved. But mostly, we will remember his hearty, infectious laugh. The huge void left by him will never be filled but we can take comfort in the fact that he is now free from pain and enjoying the salvation afforded him by his Savior.
Those who know Jesus as their Savior have the hope and confidence that they will see him again.
A celebration of Murray’s life will be held on February 19th at 11 AM in the White Pine High School gym where he spent so many hours.
If you would like to help with food for the luncheon contact Mele Kingston @ 293-3091.