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John Luckett Murray (1921 - 2013)

Obituary
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Murray, John Luckett

John Luckett Murray, 92, long-time resident of Hastings-on-Hudson, died Saturday, August 24 at Calvary Hospital, Bronx, NY, where he briefly received hospice care for leukemia.

John was born May 10, 1921 to John Thomas and Margery Luckett Murray and was raised with his older brother, Wilkie, in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. A 1939 graduate of Erasmus Hall High School, John was president of his senior class and of the school General Organization. He also served as president of the National Association of Student Officers, chairing the annual convention in San Francisco.

John attended Cornell University on a full scholarship from the Telluride Association. In 1941, while at Cornell, John met Ruth Miriam Gillett of Slingerlands, NY. A year later, he was drafted into the Army Air Force where he served as a cryptographer (T-Sgt.). John and Ruth were married on May 27, 1944. After the war, John completed law school at Cornell ('43 AB, JD '48). He and Ruth moved to Knoxville, TN, where John worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority, and they started a family. In 1953, they relocated to upstate NY, where he worked for the Jamestown Mutual Insurance Co. In 1960, John joined Hertz Rent-a-Car in Manhattan as VP/legal counsel and the family moved to Hastings. In 1972, John went into private practice in White Plains, NY. In recent years, he continued to practice law from his residence.

John participated in local government and other organizations: as Hastings village trustee and Dobbs Ferry village attorney, board director of Foundation for Religion and Mental Health, Cornell Alumni Association of Westchester and its Second Friday Alumni Lunch Club, and the Hastings Democrats.

He had a passion for history and for sailing, following his Nova Scotia maritime heritage. He loved to sing, read poetry, and take long walks in the Rockefeller Preserve and along the Hudson. John was a political activist, a staunch believer in restraint of US military intervention abroad. His letters to the editor often appeared in local newspapers.

John and Ruth became members of the First Unitarian Society of Westchester in 1962. The religious, educational and social activities of the Society were a vital part of their lives. John held numerous leadership positions: president, board member, director of finance and legal adviser. He worked with others to welcome and integrate new members, led social action initiatives, and sang in the choir. In May of this year, John was honored by the Metropolitan District for his lifetime contributions.

John was predeceased in 2004 by his wife, Ruth of 59 years and in 2000 by his brother, Wilkie. He was remarried in 2006 to Joyce Fish of Yonkers, NY, also a member of the Unitarian Society and widow of John's sailing partner, Ken Fish. John is survived by Joyce, his four children, Thomas, Miriam, David and Alan, and five grandchildren, Scott, Philip, Stephen, Grace and Celia.

A memorial service will be held at the Community Unitarian Church at White Plains, 468 Rosedale Avenue, White Plains, NY 10605, on Saturday, September 28th at 2 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations in John's memory may be made to the First Unitarian Society of Westchester, Friends of the Hastings Public Library, or Friends of Rockefeller State Park Preserve, Inc.



Published in the The Journal News on Sept. 11, 2013
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