The Murray Read Pavilion

To Guemes Islanders’ joy, the Murray Read Pavilion is very near completion. Glen Veal and Mike Gwost, the two most dedicated builders and their helpers, are finishing the roof in preparation for turning the new pavilion over to Skagit County Parks.

Constructed in honor of Murray Read, the money for Pavilion materials began with memorials following Murray’s death in 1997. One family contributed $3,000, and others gave smaller amounts. Fundraisers increased the account over the years until it grew to nearly $10,000.

In the Murray Read spirit, the Pavilion has been built with donated labor. “A plaque and dedication ceremony will be held in the spring or summer when we can hope for good weather,” Glen Veal said.

An accomplished carpenter, Read had his hand in the building of many Guemes homes but never took any money for his help. Almost everyone on Guemes has a Murray Read story. As Jane Read commented, “Murray liked to keep busy.“ As an example, she told about the time when Murray complained, as he grew older, that he was falling over logs at the mill.

“Why don’t you use a cane?” asked Margaret, his daughter.

Murray’s reply, “Then I couldn’t carry my chain saw.”

The longtime editor of The Little Candle and his biography Taking Life As It Comes (available in the Guemes Library) reveal Murray’s philosophy. “I wish all the people of Guemes were as beautiful as the island,” but still he saw good in everyone. He viewed his Guemes home as “already living in Heaven.” At 93, Murray wrote, “When my time comes to go on I am ready, hoping I have left the world a little better because of my being here.”

Jane and Murray’s years of service to the Guemes Island Community Church are memorialized in the stained glass window contributed to the couple by Betsy and Jep Burdock. For a dozen years, Murray opened the church and ushered every Sunday while Jane provided the altar flowers. The beauty of the church window and the accessibility of the Murray Read Pavilion are testimonials to the Reads’ contributions to the community and character of Guemes Island.

- Anne Jackets

October 30, 2003

Photos by Tim Wittman and Bob Easton
Tags: GICC Volunteer