Rev. Murray dies at 85

Courtesy of Mike Dolan, director of communications, Augustinian Friars, Province of Saint Thomas of Villanova:

William Jerome Murray, O.S.A., passed away on Sept. 12 at the age of 85.

Rev. Murray was born on July 20, 1921, in Jersey City, N.J., the son and only child of William Murray and Sarah Stuart.

He entered the postulancy at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, N.Y. in 1935 and completed high school there in 1939.

He was received into the novitiate on Sept. 9, 1939, and after his year as a novice at Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, N.Y., he professed first vows on Sept. 10, 1940.

From 1940 to 1944 he studied at Villanova College, graduating with an B.A. in Philosophy. From 1944 to 1948, he completed his theological studies at Augustinian College, and also studied physics at Catholic University, Washington, DC.

He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Bartholomew Eustace at Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Church, Atlantic City, N.J., on Sept. 8, 1947.

In 1954, he was transferred from San Diego to Archbishop Prendergast High School-Monsignor Bonner High School, Drexel Hill, Pa., where he taught until 1959.

During this time he completed an MA in Guidance and Counseling at Villanova University.

In 1959, Fr. Murray began his 24 years of service and ministry at Merrimack College, North Andover, Mass., where he served in a variety of roles. From 1959 to 1960 he served as the College’s Director of Guidance; from 1960 to 1970 he served as the College’s Dean of Men; and from 1970 to 1983 he served as the College’s Vice President for Student Services.

He served as the Prior (1971-1979) and as Treasurer (1979-1983) of the Merrimack Monastery community.

From 1983 to 1986, Fr. Murray served at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Dania Beach, FL, and from 1986 to 1990 he served at Saint Elizabeth Seton Parish, Golden Gate, Fla. After suffering a stroke in 1990, Fr. Murray was transferred to be in residence and recuperation at the Merrimack College Monastery.

He resided there until 1995, when he was transferred to the Province’s Health Care facility at Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova, Pa., where he remained until his death. He was as active as he could be, and with the help of his motorized scooter he drove around the University campus.

The funeral liturgy took place last Saturday at Saint Thomas of Villanova Monastery Chapel, with burial immediately followed in the Augustinian section of Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken.