Muriel Dee (Dodson) MurrayDecember 29, 1937 ~ August 1, 2018 (age 80)
Muriel Dee (Dodson) Murray, 80, passed away suddenly on August 1, 2018 at her home in Wichita, KS. She was born on December 29, 1937, in Lawrence, KS to Leslie and Orva (Roshong) Dodson. Her childhood was spent in Lawrence where she graduated from Lawrence High School in 1955. On July 11, 1958, she married Myron Murray, a Navy submarine serviceman, and lived in Maine, where he was stationed. When he left the Navy, they moved to Phoenix, AZ, where she gave birth to her daughter, Lynde, in November 1960. The following fall, she began college and graduated in May 1965 with a Bachelor of Science in Education from Grand Canyon College. That summer they moved to Longview, TX, so that Myron could take classes at LeTourneau College. In September 1966, she began teaching women’s physical education at the college. In May 1967, the couple adopted their son Dan, a 6 day old infant. Muriel continued teaching until they moved to Emporia, KS, in January 1968.
Both Myron and Muriel felt the call to be missionaries, but since the church with which they were affiliated while they lived in Arizona did not send anything to the mission field but pastors and nurses, they changed their affiliation to the Church of the Nazarene when they moved to Texas. When they moved to Kansas, they applied to be missionaries and were eventually accepted. In September 1969, the family of four made their way to Papua New Guinea, Muriel making sure they stopped in various countries along the way for educational purposes. While there, Muriel taught grade school at first, but eventually became the high school teacher for the native nursing students who were in training at the mission hospital on the station, as well as serving as the station treasurer. In addition, she and her husband built several houses, the one they lived in coming to be called the Murray house.
Upon returning to the United States in January 1973 (once again making stops in various countries, thereby completing their trip around the world), they returned to the Emporia, KS area, and eventually bought an 1880’s stone house farmstead with a small amount of land near Americus, KS. In September 1974, she started teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade math and science at the Americus Grade school, and was the girls’ sports coach. She taught there for a couple years, then became a storekeeper at Emporia State University in the school’s physical plant central storeroom in July 1977, eventually becoming Supervisor. While in this position, she started working towards becoming a licensed social worker. Also during this time, she and Myron took in two young brothers as foster children, eventually adopting the older one, Paul (Beyer), who had been born in August 1970. In May 1980, she received an Associates in Social Work degree.
In June 1984, she joined the Kansas Department of Aging as a Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman, investigating complaints from nursing home residents or their families. Muriel saw this position as an extension of her missionary work, making sure the “widows and orphans” were receiving the very best care and “standing in the gap” against any possible abuse. In addition to her work load, she completed a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Wichita State University in May 1991.
Having been separated for several years, Myron and she divorced in July 1990. She bought a house in Wichita, and continued as an Ombudsman, traveling all over the state of Kansas. In 1999, she made a lateral move within the department and became a Quality Assurance Coordinator, and retired from this position in 2002, having worked for the State of Kansas for over 25 years.
In retirement, she became deeply interested in genealogy and spent many hours in research, traveling to various genealogy libraries, and uncovering small treasures of family history which she passed down to her family. She also became involved in quilting and eventually made a quilt for each of her grandchildren, which was given to them upon graduation from high school, her last one given this past May. In Wichita, Muriel made Eastridge Church of the Nazarene her church home. She was a faithful member, board member, Missions director and Sunday school teacher. She especially loved teaching Sunday school, and tried each Sunday to bring some new history or a new insight to the material. She would spend hours each week digging through her Biblical archeology journal, and searching the internet for a fascinating titbit to pass on to her students. She felt it was important to know the history to fully understand the concepts in scripture.
Muriel was a strong personality who poured out her passion for learning, legacy, and her Christian faith into every aspect of her life. The last week of her life she spent studying the Bible to teach her Sunday school class, doing genealogy research (which included reaching out to a distant cousin who lives in Reading, CA, the area that is currently that is suffering from an overwhelming forest fire, because she wanted to find out if he had been affected by the fire), sending pictures of her newest great-grandchild to all her friends, and attending a planning meeting at church where she voiced her mission concerns. On the morning of her death, she had plans to pick up and deliver bakery items to a local food pantry, something she had done twice a week for many years.
Muriel will be deeply missed by her family and friends, but they will be consoled by the knowledge that she finished her “race” well. She is survived by her sister Brenda Holbrook and brother-in-law Bob, her daughter Lynde Murray-Wright, her son Dan Murray and daughter-in-law Marisa, her son Paul Murray, former daughter-in-law Amy Hess, nieces Terri Self (Jerry) and Michelle Garrett, 7 grandchildren-Roman, Cody (Jerica), Elizabeth, Tyler (Rachel), Ashley (Blaine), Alessa (John) and Trenten, and 11 great-grandchildren.