SHERMAN - David Ray Murray, 88, a retired educator and practitioner of many trades who reared three children with his wife of 61 years, died Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, in Sherman.
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A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, at First Presbyterian Church of Whitewright with the Rev. Michael Rutledge officiating. Graveside services will be at 3 p.m. in City Cemetery in Sulphur Springs.
David was born Dec. 29, 1924, the youngest of three children of Ray and Nona Williams Murray at their home at 925 Main St. in Sulphur Springs.
After graduating Sulphur Springs High School in 1942, he attended East Texas State University for one semester before he was drafted into the Army during World War II. Having participated in his father's funeral home business, he soon received an assignment with the Army Medic Corps to drive ambulances.
After training and service stateside, he joined 11,000 service people to ride the Queen Mary from New Jersey to Scotland. David talked frequently of the months he was stationed in Reykjavík, Iceland. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, he was aboard a ship sailing from Iceland to southern England. He eventually arrived at Utah Beach, Normandy, France, transporting new ambulances and trucks.
As a driver in the medic corps, he never saw action, but he did tell stories of running into a German Panzer tank on the outskirts of Paris, driving a general around England and driving a prisoner, a Gestapo officer, to interrogation. Like other members of the Greatest Generation, David was proud of his contribution to the war effort.
Discharged in April 1946 following the end of the war, he returned to school, worked at his father's Murray Funeral Home, sold auto parts and even taught driver's education in Corpus Christi. Returning to the family home at 1003 N. Davis in Sulphur Springs, he found the little girl who lived next door had grown into a beautiful young woman.
He and Carolyn Sue Thornton married on July 6, 1949, at First Methodist Church in Sulphur Springs.
They first moved to Oklahoma, where he attended school at Murray Junior College in Tishomingo and Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, where he earned a bachelor's degree in industrial arts in 1952.
After teaching in Corsicana, he started work on his master's degree at the University of Texas in Austin. While there, he found another love, repairing old houses.
He started a driver's education program at Seguin High School, prospected for uranium in New Mexico with brother-in-law Frank Pearce, worked for lumber companies in Cameron and Ballinger, taught school again in Mount Pleasant and in 1964 began teaching industrial cooperative training at Bonham High School, where he retired from education when the ICT program was discontinued in 1980.
Along the way, he had Carolyn started raising a family with the birth of daughter Leah Ann in Rockdale in 1956, son James David in Ballinger in 1959, and daughter Ruth Elaine in Mount Pleasant in 1962. Their first child was a boy who was stillborn in 1952.
While teaching in Bonham, he started acquiring small, rundown houses that he would repair and rent or sell. Few people knew of the number of families and single women of limited income who rented a house from David Murray at remarkably affordable rates.
After he retired from teaching, he and Carolyn moved their empty-nest home to Sherman, where he continued fixing up old houses, his pride being a three-story house in Denison. His last project, in the winter of 2003, was advising and assisting his daughter and son-in-law with a house in Port Mansfield, the last of several winters where he escaped the cold of northern Texas for the Gulf Coast.
David and Carolyn joined the Presbyterian Church early in their marriage and it remained central to their lives, working with youth groups, teaching Sunday School classes and leading Bible studies. He was a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA). He has been a member of First Presbyterian Church of Whitewright more than 30 years.
Travel was also important to the Murrays. With their five-member family tucked into a cab-over camper, they visited nearly all of the states and provinces in the U.S. and Canada. After the kids were grown, he and Carolyn continued visiting their favorite destinations, from Key West, Florida, to Kodiak Island, Alaska. David also felt blessed to have the opportunity to visit Europe, including some of the areas he had seen during the war.
Another highlight of his post-retirement years was running into former students and keeping up with their successes in life.
David was preceded in death by the love of his life, Carolyn Murray; a stillborn son; daughter, Ruth Elaine Edghill; his parents; and his two siblings, William "Billy" Murray and Martha Murray Perdue.
He is survived by daughter, Leah Ann Martaindale and husband Steve of Hearne; son, James David Murray and wife Tina of Sherman; grandchildren, Erin Elaine Martaindale Shenkir and husband Zachary of Hearne, Mallory Michelle Edghill of Dallas, Richard Ryan Edghill of League City, Aaron James Murray of Sherman, and William Benedict Murray and wife Tori of Denison; and great-grandsons, Charles Joseph Shenkir of Hearne and Carson Jagger Murray of Denison.
Waldo Funeral Home of Sherman is in charge of arrangements. A guest register is online at www.waldofuneralhome.com.
Published in The Herald Democrat on Sept. 26, 2013
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