Dr. Erskine S Murray, 90 years old, of Montgomery, Al passed away at home in the early hours of August 3, 2013. He was the son of the late Dempsey and Velma Murray of Jasper and Boldo in Walker County, Alabama. He had 4 brothers and 3 sisters and is survived by his youngest brother, Dr Jerry Murray and sister in law, Carolyn of Selma, NC and his baby sister, Ostella Akin of Jasper, Al. He is also survived by his wife of over 66 years, Betty Jewell Gothard Murray, daughter Denise Murray, son Ron Murray and his wife Jan, grandson Austin Murray, grandson Eliot Murray and his wife Ashley, and their two children, a great-grandson Harris and a...
Dr. Erskine S Murray, 90 years old, of Montgomery, Al passed away at home in the early hours of August 3, 2013. He was the son of the late Dempsey and Velma Murray of Jasper and Boldo in Walker County, Alabama. He had 4 brothers and 3 sisters and is survived by his youngest brother, Dr Jerry Murray and sister in law, Carolyn of Selma, NC and his baby sister, Ostella Akin of Jasper, Al. He is also survived by his wife of over 66 years, Betty Jewell Gothard Murray, daughter Denise Murray, son Ron Murray and his wife Jan, grandson Austin Murray, grandson Eliot Murray and his wife Ashley, and their two children, a great-grandson Harris and a great-granddaughter Chandler. He is also survived by a brother in law, Holiday Warren Gothard of South Pittsburg, TN and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews living through out the southeast.
He was a Graduate of Walker County High School in Jasper, AL and received his Undergraduate degree from Florence State Teacher's College (presently the University of North Alabama) in Florence, AL and a Masters degree from Peabody College (presently Vanderbilt University), in Nashville, TN. He received his Doctorate of Education Administration from Auburn University, in Auburn, AL in 1969.
His dream was to "teach and develop" young minds to love education and learning as much as he did. However, after WWII, men in Education and especially Education Administration were difficult to find, so his goal of being a classroom teacher was put on hold and he began his over 37 year career in Public Education Administration.
He served as Principal of Oakland Jr. High School in Lauderdale County, Principal of Hanceville High School in Cullman County Principal of Scottsboro High School and Superintendent of the Schools in Jackson County, and Principal of Childersburg High School and Assistant County Superintendent of Talladega County schools. After receiving his Doctorate he was the Superintendent of the Talladega City Schools before moving to Montgomery, Al. and the State Department of Education in 1972 to serve Alabama as the Assistant State Superintendent of Education. While Assistant State Superintendent, he also served as the Interim President of Chattahoochee Valley Community College, Patrick Henry Junior College and the Interim Director of the Alabama Division of Rehabilitation Service. He retired from the State Department of Education in January of 1985 and shortly after, he was asked to serve as the Interim President for the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, which was truly a labor of love for him and a perfect ending to a wonderful career.
Between high school and college he and all of his brothers served in the US Army and WWII and all but the youngest saw active duty, and returned, from the European, North African and Pacific Theaters. As a member of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, now known as the Ghost Army, he was inducted at Ft McClellan, AL in early 1943, and honorably discharged in late 1945 at Camp Shelby, MS., when his unit was demobilized. He served in campaigns across Europe, including Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe in special and top secret operations. This included operations at Brest, Pas-de-Calais, Luxembourg and the 'Battle of the Bulge'. Few of his family and friends knew details of his service in WWII until recently because the Special Ops of the Ghost Army were classified under an Oath of Secrecy for Fifty Years and have only been partially declassified beginning in 1995.
He was a really good sportsman, he was at his best when bird hunting, especially dove and quail. He never had luck with deer or turkey, but brought home his share of rabbits and squirrels. He enjoyed fishing from Tennessee to Key West, Florida and was pretty good at that too, feeding family, friends and more, Fried Fish Dinners on many occasions.
He was a devout Christian and a faithful and loyal member of the First United Methodist Church of Montgomery for the last 40 years. His God, his Wife, his Family, his Church, and his Friends were his most valuable and cherished possessions, money and material items only paled in comparison. As he said many times when looking back over his life…"My Cup Runneth Over." He was a blessing to all who knew him, and his memory will always be cherished.
Visitation will be on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 from 10:00 to 11:00 am in the Parlor at Alabama Heritage Funeral Home with funeral services following in the Chapel. The Burial will follow in the Alabama Heritage Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made, in Dr. Murray's name to: The Stegall Seminary Scholarship Foundation, PO Box 241661, Montgomery, AL 36124