By Mike McMurray - calendar producer/photographer -

I am dedicating this 25th Anniversary Edition calendar to my daughter, Sarah McMurray, artist and lover of life.

For our family this has been the toughest year we have encountered. Our daughter Sarah lost her battle with cancer on September 14th. Cancer came upon her suddenly this past February. This type of cancer has no known cause or cure.

Sarah was 31 and loved people. She was a friend to just about everyone, had no prejudices, knew no color barriers, or class distinctions. She was truly interested in people and spent time with everyone she encountered even if it was your first meeting.

She was an artist, painter, photographer, writer, adventurer, teacher and wonderful, loving person. The literally hundreds of posts on facebook bore testimony of how many people she had touched by her art, writing, teaching, and just being Sarah. One comment that touched my heart stated, "I am a better person for knowing her, she took the time to listen."

Sarah had been my photographic companion on numerous trips around the country, as had my wife and other daughter, however Sarah's schedule allowed her more flexibility. She loved the outdoors and a chance to go photograph.

Many times she would ask if I was doing anything this Saturday, and then say, 'Let's go photograph something". So we'd take off on a 300 - 500 mile day-trip around Central or Eastern Oregon, just enjoying the drive, a lunch, and a day together.

She and her sister were both 'born' with a sense of adventure. They love to take day trips into the Cascades to hike, photograph or kayak, occasionally venturing over to the coast, just to walk barefoot in the sand.

The photo of her and I was taken while at our favorite beach getaway on the Oregon coast a few weeks before her passing. We were blessed with being able to take one last family vacation, to her favorite place, Yachats.

She will be missed by hundreds. And I want to thank all who reached out in support, prayers, letters, cards, gifts, fund raisers to help with her expenses and visits to our home, hospital and hospice supporting Sarah and us.

You are truly amazing and we are so very thankful for each one of you. Many people had only heard of Sarah's condition or read her blog, but reached out in support.

It is coincidental that I lost two incredibly wonderful people within a month of each other, Sarah and longtime forestry friend, Bill Hagenstein. Both had positively impacted thousands of people. A testimony to their live's was evident at their memorial services'. A 'wake' for Bill and a 'Celebration of Life' with a 'wake' following for Sarah. Both were attended by hundreds of people from all over the country. You gotta love the Irish
What both of these people had in common was an intense love of the outdoors and our forests. They both defended active management of those forests, knowing that is the only way to maintain their sustainability, preserve wildlife habitat and be able to enjoy these resources for generations to come.

In our family, death is a continuation of life. We know she is in a far better place now, free from the horrific pain and suffering she was dealing with in her last few weeks. But she never gave up. She was a fighter.

So for me, I embark on a new chapter in my life and photographic experience. I will always have my 'photographic' buddy, Sarah along, but also her mother or sister will join me periodically or maybe one or two of you...... As Sarah would say, "Follow Your Bliss".

(Most of all I will miss her ever present smile and positive attitude, and the love she brought into this world.)

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