Rev. Dr. James Wilson Murray, 79, went to be home with his Lord and Savior on Friday Oct. 5, 2012 at Atria Senior Living in Newburgh.


Dr. Murray was born Oct. 23, 1932 in the Ozark village of Van Buren, Missouri, the son of Rev. Claude Edward Murray, Sr. and Mary Wilson Murray.


He married Rae Arliss Reierson on June 22, 1957 at Kingo Lutheran Church in Fosston, Minn.


Dr. Murray served his country in the United States Marine Corps for 26 years. He completed combat tours of duty in Korea and Vietnam where he was awarded three Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with Combat V for valor. After retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel from the Marine Corps he became President of the General Baptist denomination’s only school of higher education, Oakland City University, Oakland City, Indiana, where he devoted thirty-three years of service. By the time Dr. Murray retired as Chancellor and President of Oakland City University, the school was fully accredited and enrollment had increased from 300 students to over 2000 students. During Dr. Murray’s leadership, the school began a number of graduate degree programs and achieved university status.  The university also witnessed the building of eight new structures, including a gymnasium, fine arts center, student life center, library and administration building.


In 2009, Dr. Murray was elected as Executive Director of the General Association of General Baptists. During Dr. Murray’s lifetime he held hundreds of revivals and preached to thousands of people. Spreading the gospel was his gift and greatest joy. Dr. Murray’s other achievements include receiving the Sagamore of the Wabash from Indiana Governor Otis Bowen and being named a Kentucky Colonel by the Governor of Kentucky.  Dr. Murray served on the Wellborn Baptist Board of Directors for twenty five years as well as the Board of Directors of the First Bank & Trust of Oakland City, Indiana, the Gibson County Community Foundation and Habitat for Humanity.  Dr. Murray was also an active member in Kiwanis.  Further, Dr. Murray earned a Ph.D. degree in philosophy in addition to receiving honorary doctorate degrees from Oakland City University and the University of Southern Indiana.  


In addition to Rae, his wife and partner of fifty-five years, he is survived by a son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Doris Murray of Fosston, Minn.; a daughter and son-in-law, Robyn and Chris Speltz of Austin, Texas; four grandchildren, Heather (Murray) Kluge, Megan Murray, Elizabeth Speltz and Olivia Speltz; three great-grandchildren, two brothers, Rev. Dr. Lennis “Dick” Murray of Poplar Bluff, Missouri. and Rev. Dr. Claude Murray, Jr. of Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, and 25 nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, four brothers and three sisters.


Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday Oct. 9, 2012 at Murray Center on the Oakland City University campus in Oakland City, Indiana.  Funeral services, with full military honors, will be at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday October 10, 2012 at Johnson Center on the Oakland City University campus in Oakland City, Indiana. Graveside service and burial will be held in Fosston, Minn. Lamb-Basham Memorial Chapel is in charge of local arrangements.