1921 – 2006 (September 12)
William Jerome Murray was born on July 20, 1921, in Jersey City, New Jersey, the son and only child of William Murray and Sarah Stuart. He was baptized at Saint Mary's Church, Jersey City, on August 16, 1921. He attended public school, Our Lady of the Angels School, Brooklyn, New York, and Our Lady of Good Counsel School, Staten Island, N.Y. He entered Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, N.Y. as a postulant in 1935 and completed high school there in 1939. He was received into the novitiate on Sept. 9, 1939, at New Hamburg, N.Y., and professed simple vows on Sept. 10, 1940. From 1940 to 1944 he studied at Villanova College, graduating with an A.B. in Philosophy. He professed solemn vows on Sept. 10, 1943. From 1944 to 1948, he completed his theological studies at Augustinian College, and also studied Physics at The Catholic University, Washington, D.C. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Bartholomew Eustace, at the Church of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, Atlantic City, N.J. on Sept. 8, 1947.
Father Murray's first assignment was to Saint Augustine High School, San Diego, CA, where he taught from 1949 to 1954. In 1954, he was transferred to Archbishop Prendergast High School- later Msgr. 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, Father Murray began 24 years of service and ministry at Merrimack College, North Andover, MA, 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 was prior of the community from 1971 to 1979, and treasurer from 1979 to 1983. A plaque, placed in the Student Lounge of Gildea Hall in his honor at the time of his departure from the college, was inscribed: "To an Augustinian who served the students of Merrimack College and the college community for 24 years with warmth, generosity, and unfailing kindness."
From 1983 to 1986, Father Murray served at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Dania Beach, FL, and from 1986 to 1990 at Saint Elizabeth Seton Parish, Golden Gate, FL. After suffering a stroke in 1990, Father Murray was transferred to 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.
Fr. Murray passed over to the Lord on Tuesday, September 12, 2006, in the early hours of the morning. His funeral liturgy took place on Saturday, September 16, 2006, in the Saint Thomas Monastery Chapel with burial in the Augustinian section of Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, PA, All who knew Fr. Bill concur with the testimonial of the Merrimack College community. He was a warm, generous and kind friar, a dedicated priest, and a gracious person of cheerful optimism.