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Obituary for Raymond Clifford Murray (Murray)

Raymond Clifford  Murray (Murray)
Raymond (“Ray”) Clifford Murray, native Benningtonian and resident of Conyers, GA, died on August 27, 2018 at the age of 98. Ray was married for 66 years to the former Myrlyn (“Brownie”) Audrey Brown, also of Bennington, who pre-deceased him on January 30, 2015 in Austin, TX, at 89.
Ray was born on May 28, 1920 to Ernest and Angelina Murray. Pre-deceased by his father, mother, wife, five brothers and sisters, and other family members, he is survived by two half-sisters, Monica and Judy Murray; his and Brownie’s three children, Randy of San Antonio, TX; Barbara of Alachua, FL; and Scott of Conyers, GA; their spouses, children, and great grandchildren; and by his faithful, beloved caregiver of the past several years Margie Orht of Covington, GA.
As a child, Ray enjoyed football and boxing along with outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and hunting. He often told stories of sneaking into the old Hart Theater on Main Street to listen to his father play piano during the soundless movie era. Inspired by his father’s natural talent at the piano (Ernest composed the “Bennington Battle March”), Ray became an accomplished self-taught pianist/composer with a life-long love of piano and classical music.
Educated at Bennington’s Sacred Heart Academy and St. Joseph’s Business College, Ray displayed remarkable ability as a speed-typist on old Remington standard typewriters. He competed in a national event held at the 1939 Chicago World’s Fair and placed as the then-third fastest typist in the country.
Prior to World War II, Ray enlisted in the U.S. Army and attended the Casey Jones School of Aeronautics in Newark, NJ, to obtain a license to work on aircraft. With the war’s critical pilot shortage, he completed pilot training at Gibbs Field AAF in Fort Stockton, TX, receiving his wings and a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. He served during the war to deliver cargo and bomber aircraft to locations throughout Europe and Northern Africa. Post-war, he was discharged in 1946 and returned to Bennington, securing employment at Union Carbide and later in Burlington as a US Army Quartermaster purchasing officer. He and Brownie married in 1948. Ray returned to active duty as a pilot, serving in Bermuda, Kansas, Japan, Massachusetts, and Florida as a pilot, instructor pilot, missile launch officer, and staff officer. Ray retired from USAF active duty as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1964 and resumed civilian life, relocating to Bennington in 1966.
Ray completed his bachelor’s degree at North Adams State College, served as professor of business courses at Saint Joseph’s College, and became active in local politics, helping establish and serving as interim president of the local Bennington Taxpayers Protective Association (BTPA). He was also elected to the Mount Anthony Union School Board as a member, and later served as president of that organization.
In 1980, Ray and Brownie moved to Austin, TX, where Ray worked at the former Hart Graphics until 1987, continued to study classical music, and was active in the St. Thomas More Catholic parish. In 1989, he founded and became sole president of the Gibb’s Field Alumni Association in Fort Stockton, TX, an organization encouraged by the Chamber of Commerce to recognize contributions of several hundred pilot trainee graduates of the World War II era.
Gifted with extraordinarily expressive musical talent, deep religious convictions, strong conservative patriotism, a quick wit, and equally wonderful sense of humor, Ray lived a full and diverse life spanning the depression era, World War II, the 60s, the Vietnam era, and today’s era of advancing technology. Throughout, as a husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, soldier, aviator, teacher, and musician, he upheld his values, his religious beliefs, and his positive encouragement of all around him.
He will rest next to Brownie in Park Lawn Cemetery looking out on Bald Mountain that he often climbed in his childhood and fondly recalled during his long life. Ray is now finally “home,” concluding his “final approach” to a life well-lived.
Calling hours will be at Mahar & Son Funeral Home, Main Street, Bennington, VT, Friday, September 21, 2018, between 3 and 5 pm. A funeral mass will be held at St. Frances de Sales/Sacred Heart Church at 10 am to be followed by interment at in Park Lawn Cemetery, South Street.
A reception will follow at the American Legion Post on Northside Drive. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Ray's memory to the Vermont Veterans' Home in Bennington.
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