Northwest NEWS

May 24, 1999

Valley Special

Charlie Murtagh was a 'friend to the community'

Charlie Murtagh

Pizza Place founder dies suddenly at 74

by Lisa Allen, Valley View editor

   DUVALL--Charlie Murtagh was a man who loved jazz and baseball. He also loved words, reading, and helping children.

   He used his business, Charlie's Pizza, as a venue for encouraging youngsters to excel in whatever they did. Last Friday, he was remembered for those qualities at a memorial service at the Duvall Church.

   Charlie died suddenly at his home in Duvall on May 15 at the age of 74. He was born on July 1, 1924, in Bronx, New York. Charlie--known as "Charlie" to everyone--came to Duvall in 1985 and opened Charlie's Pizza on Valley Street. He moved the business twice, first to a spot on Main Street, then to its current location across from the Family Grocer.

   Charlie hired countless local teenagers over the years and has been honored by the school district for his support of the students. His daughter, Bridget, said she didn't know how many people he had touched until after he died.

   "He loved this town," she said. "He had a laugh and a joke for everybody and gave extra money to kids who earned good grades."

   Librarian Laura Ritter said Charlie loved education, learning, and books. "He was at the library every week," she said. "All the staff members had his library card number memorized. He was named Businessman of the Year by the school district because he did so much for the children. He touched us all."

   A couple of years ago, Charlie wanted to retire, and in June of 1997 sold the pizza business to Video Factory owner Pat McKenzie. But time hung heavy on his hands. He tried to fill his days by traveling and helping out at the restaurant. He also discovered fishing, enjoying that hobby with friend Mike Brittain. Brittain said he will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

   Charlie is survived by daughter, Bridget, of Seattle; sons, Michael of Placentia, CA and Ched; brother Edward of Westwood, NJ; and granddaughter Lasha of Fresno, CA.

   Memorials may be sent to the Duvall Library, 15916 Main St. NE, Duvall, WA 98019.