In Memory of Mother Nellie


Nellie E. Lamp, left us at 83 years old on September 27, 2011.  She slipped away peacefully with her family by her side in her Walnut Creek home.


She was born March 31, 1928 in rural Ohio, to Joseph and Gladys Shoff.   Nellie had three sisters: Dorothy, Evelyn and Nancy, who survive her, and one brother, Richard, who is deceased.  She has three children: Kevin Murray, Marilyn Schulte & Sean Murray.


Her early years were spent moving-about during the Depression.  She at one point lived in Martinez, CA where her father operated a service station.  Much of her youth was spent on farms in Oregon, Pennsylvania and Ohio.   She was elected 1946 Home Coming Queen of Harbor High in Ashtabula Ohio, where she graduated. 


In the early 1950s she moved to California with her first husband Frederick Koontz, an Air Force pilot who died in action over Korea.   Her famous quote was “Freddie and his buddies liked to fly under the Golden gate Bridge — you know they weren’t’ supposed to do that…”


In the 1960s she and Tom Murray settled in Lafayette to raise their 3 children.  Theirs was a neighborhood go-to home for adults and kids alike, and famous for parties, pets, and auto projects.   She proudly saw all her kids complete college, and her first grandchild enter medical school.   She met Tom through the VFW.  As her attorney he helped her to establish her widow’s rights with the military and VA.  Romance blossomed and they married in 1956.


Nellie’s had a career in accounting and banking.  She began with  Diamond Match Co. in Ohio as bookkeeper and retired from California Savings & Loan as a Vice President, after opening several branches, including Lafayette.  


She was active in forming the City of Lafayette in the 1960s, Lafayette PTA, Birch Branch for Children’s Hospital, and Soroptimists of Lafayette, serving in the latter as President and other leadership roles into the 2000s.


Prior to moving to Rossmoor in 2004, she lived in retirement for 25 years with her third husband, Ed Lamp, on a small ranch at the foot of Mt. Diablo.  They kept horses, ran a nursery, tended beautiful gardens, entertained, and traveled.  She sold the land to Shadowbrook Winery. 


Along with her children and sisters, she is survived by her son and daughters in-law: Renee Murray, Scot Schulte; Jill Murray, grandchildren: Brian Schulte, Derek Schulte, Kaylyn Murray, and Terra Murray.


A wake in celebration of Nellie’s life will be held in her home, 4829 Terra Granada Drive 1B, Walnut Creek, noon – 8:00, Sunday October 2nd.  Please join us to enjoy a selection of Nellie’s favorite recipes and catering from several of her favorite restaurants.  We’ll be also be serving some of her favorite drinks and yours: margaritas, martinis, cosmos, and buttermilk.

The family has prepared some wonderful presentations, and we will share memories of her energy and love.  For those unable to attend, please email us and we will send you a memorial presentation.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to your family’s education.