James Arthur Murray, Jr.: October 29, 2021
Published 4:42 pm Monday, November 1, 2021
The man known as Dad, Sarge, Mr. Jim, or Jim Dad was born James Arthur Murray, Jr. on Sunday, January 20th, 1946 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He weighed in at almost 10lbs. An active baby with a full head of deep red hair, Jim asserted himself as a distinctive individual from the start.
During his youth, Jim Murray lived with his florist mother and sister in Tulsa through the school week, and spent weekends and summers with his grandparents in rural Ramona. He loved the country life, animals, hunting and fishing. He developed a community of great friends there.
While in 4-H Jim learned how to graft flowering fruit trees and he created some award-winning combinations in his grandparents’ orchard. He bottle-raised a pet raccoon whom he named after the local busybody. (He had a keen sense of humor even as a boy.) He was an insatiable reader, a fixer of all things and a creative builder. Ever the innovator, he built doll furniture from scrap wood for his sister and made her little leather boots by hand. He even taught himself to make dandelion wine without poisoning anyone.
Later Jim’s skills and interests were a perfect match for the needs of Tulsa Little Theatre group. He and some artsy friends volunteered enthusiastically, due in large part to the lovely Tulsa University singer he met there, Karen Wiedenmann. Following a TLT production of Guys and Dolls, Jim and Karen became engaged. They were married on October 15th, 1965.
The draft lottery was looming over all fit young men in the late ’60’s. Jim chose not to wait to be called or to defer. Rather, he enlisted for service in the Army and was deployed to Vietnam. He served more honorably than most of us will ever know, as his missions were often classified. A man of his word, he shared very little of his experiences and duties with his loved ones.
After two tours of duty, Jim’s love of original art led him to pursue a civilian career in custom framing. He became well-known as a knowledgeable and gifted craftsman. He had the unique ability to identify frame stock that complimented each piece of art in unexpected ways. During these years Jim and Karen were blessed with three sons, Brett, Jake and Joe.
Even while continuing his education and finding a gratifying career in Tulsa, Jim and Karen both longed for a country life. They decided Jim would reenlist in the Army. During a tour of duty in Germany they were blessed with their fourth and fifth sons, Gabriel and Joshua. Upon returning to the states, he was stationed at Ft. Benning. Rather than live on base, they chose to make their home in Lumpkin, GA where they raised their family.
Some things about Jim never changed over the years. He had a quick wit and dry sense of humor, but was stingy with his words. He called out hypocrisy, always. He did not suffer fools. He did not seek to be popular – he just was himself. He did his work earnestly. He didn’t care what his Army trainees thought of him. He only cared that he had prepared them well for duty. He wanted all of them to come home healthy. Upon his retirement from the Army Jim took several different positions that culminated with his being the City Manager for the City of Lumpkin until he decided to fully retire.
In January of 2006 Jim lost his wife, Karen. His sons were grown then. They had shared forty years together.
Jim met Dale Sears at a Halloween party where they became fast friends. Their friendship grew quickly and on April 12th, 2010 Jim Murray and Dale Sears were married. She brought humor and happiness back into his life. Dale and Jim could converse on almost any subject. They enriched each other’s lives. He enjoyed the addition of Dale’s daughters, Rachel and Megan and granddaughter Emily to his family. Their bond proved stronger as they shared over a decade together before Jim’s health took a turn. Jim died peacefully on the morning of October 29th, 2021 in Richland, Georgia. He will be missed by all who knew him and most by those who knew him best.
Jim is preceded in death by his wife of 40 years, Karen E Murray, his mother, Mary Murray McCracken and his father, James A Murray, Sr.
Jim is survived by his wife, Dale Sears Murray of Lumpkin, daughters Megan Vieyra of Americus and Rachel Obermeyer and her husband Joe of Ellerslie and granddaughter Emily. He leaves behind his beloved four-legged friend, Willie, too.
Jim is also survived by his five sons, Brett D. Murray of Americus and his wife Schelly, Jacob N. Murray of Zebulon, Joseph B. Murray of Columbus, Gabriel J. Murray of Highlands NC, Joshua F. Murray of Zebulon, and grandchildren, Amanda, Sara Beth, Bella, Hannah and Connor Murray.
Jim’s other surviving family members include his aunt, Margaret Audrain and his sister, Gaylyn Murray Wattman of Tulsa and their families.
Memorials in Jim’s honor may be sent to the Veterans Organization of your choice.
All services are private.
To sign the online guestbook and share your memories, visit www.greghancockfuneralchapel.com
Greg Hancock funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.