Rueben Murrieta, Fire Engineer
Died in the Line of Duty: October 12, 2018
Cause of Death: Lung Cancer
A dedicated son, firefighter, husband, father, brother, friend, coach, and patriot—Engineer Murrieta began his lifelong love and service for the fire department in 1972 with the LAFD hand crew at Malibu. His 43-year record is exemplary, with an award as the 2000 Ventura County Firefighter of the Year. Rueben was known for his quiet consistency, easy going manner, and inviting presence. Rueben’s legacy inspires others through his commitment to integrity. A pillar of the community, Rueben touched the lives of firefighters, children, and countrymen; as a member of the Knights of Columbus, in service to his faith, he nourished thousands. Rueben Murrieta is honorably remembered for giving the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
Rueben was born on February 29, 1952, in Santa Ana, California, to Rafael and Elvira Murrieta; the sixth of ten children. On October 24, 1975, he married the love of his life, Irene M. Martinez. They were married for 44 years. They have two sons, Anthony and Alejandro, and two granddaughters whom “grandpa” adored.
Rueben attended schools in the Los Angeles area, graduating from Whittier High School in 1971. Rueben decided to follow in the footsteps of his brothers and became a firefighter. He was hired by the LAFD 1972; he joined the International Association of Fire Fighters. In 1977, he accepted a position at the Ventura County Fire Department. He often expressed to Irene that he loved his job. Throughout his career he was committed to his work and was recognized as the Fire Fighter of the Year in 2000. Engineer R. Murrieta retired with the VCFD in 2010.
Rueben was actively involved with his son’s sport activities. Coaching, mentoring youth, and developing life-long friendships with families. He was a devoted member of Santa Clara Parish. Rueben epitomized what it was to be a dedicated member of the Fourth Degree of the Knights of Columbus #750 Council; also serving as the Treasurer; and, as Faithful Navigator. He was also a member of the Loyal Order of Moose Lodge, Legion #175. He cooked and barbecued for dozens of charitable annual events (on a mobile BBQ pit that he built with his Brother Knight). He actively served the community, fed the homeless, donated time, distributed toys; to his quality, he oversaw and participated in making 10,000 tamales for the Servants of Mary, Minister to the Sick, for their annual Christmas Boutique. Rueben continued to assist anyone in need throughout the duration of his burden.
Rueben loved traveling. His travels brought him closer to the world he appreciated. With his faithful wife, they traveled extensively throughout Europe and North America, including Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico. He enjoyed listening to music, dancing, barbecuing with his family and friends, cooking for the shift at the station, and playing golf. He especially looked forward to the annual golf tournament with his brothers at Baja Mar Country Club. He was also an avid sports fan, mechanic, and movie buff.
Rueben will truly be missed. He was absolutely devoted, epitomized commitment, and exemplified integrity. He was a genuine man, kind hearted and sincere. We take comfort that he is free from pain, at peace in his mother’s arms, and that his family and friends have forever-always a guardian angel looking over them.
He is survived by the love and grace he imparted on to everyone who knew him.