William Preston (Bill) Murrey, Jr., went to be with his Lord on Friday, September 4, 2020. He passed peacefully at his home in Pulaski.
A private family service will take place at this time. A celebration of his life will be scheduled at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Pulaski First United Methodist Church 200 W Jefferson Street, Pulaski, TN 38478, Martin Methodist College 433 W Madison Street, Pulaski, TN. 38478, Giles County Public Library 122 S Second Street, Pulaski, TN 38478, or New Canaan Ranch 5451 Columbia Highway, Pulaski, TN 38478
He is predeceased by his devoted wife of 58 years, Sara Frances Sharp Murrey; sister, Waverly (DeeDee) Ogilvie Murrey Duning and brother-in-law Theodore P. (Ted) Duning; and sisters-in-law, Kathleen Sharp Wakefield and Alice Peebles Murrey; and brother-in-law John Erskine Sharp, Jr..
Those with heavy hearts today include his brother, Nathaniel Ogilvie (Nat) Murrey; brother-in-law, William Earl (Corky) Wakefield; and special friends, Alice Ann Barge and family. Special thanks go to Bill’s dedicated caregiver, his daughter-in-law, Beverly Greene Murrey. Bill also leaves behind three devoted sons, W. Preston Murrey III (Patsy), John Sharp Murrey (Beverly), and James Edward (Ed) Murrey. His grandchildren hold special memories of their Dado: Sara Katherine Murrey Pierce (Cain), Halle Murrey, Lyndsey Dunnavant Howell (Randy), Rachel Dunnavant Weatherly (Joseph), Tom Parker (Tracy), Michael Parker (Amanda), Sherri Salas (Michael), Cameron Winterburn (Katie), and Blaise Winterburn Rogers (Chaz). Many nieces, nephews, and extended family members hold Bill in their hearts: Sara Wakefield Reese (Phil), Gid Wakefield (Leslie), Hallie Bensinger (Patrick), Gil Murrey, Jim Murrey, Natilee Duning (Frank Sutherland), Beth Duning (Bob Hock), Paul Duning (Carol), and Tim Duning (Lorraine).
Bill was born June 11, 1925, at Valley Farm near Cornersville, TN, to parents Natilee Ogilvie Murrey and William Preston Murrey, Sr. He attended school in Cornersville and later graduated from The Webb School in 1943, which he supported throughout his life.
After graduation, Bill joined the United States Merchant Marines, serving as an ensign on a liberty ship transporting troops and supplies in the North Atlantic during World War II. He attended Vanderbilt University and maintained a life-long love of the ‘Dores. As a young man he attended a dance in Pulaski where he danced with a beautiful young lady named Sara Frances Sharp. He later took her out on a date in the “farm” car – his brother, Nat, had the family sedan. Bill and Sara Frances were married in 1948, and together raised three devoted sons, and they remained very much in love until her passing in 2007.
Bill spent most of his 95 years living in Giles County where he was the longest-serving active member of the Exchange Club – 1949, the same year he joined the Chamber of Commerce. No one could outsell tickets to the annual Exchange Club Auction, which is the club’s largest fundraiser, and he was named Exchangite of the Year in 1990. He was a long-time director of the Union Bank and later Third National Bank of Pulaski, and former chairman and member of City of Pulaski Power Board. He was the longest serving trustee of Martin Methodist College and long-time chairman of the finance and buildings committee.
Sharp Motor Company was his life’s work, where he began working for his father-in-law Erskine Sharp in 1949. Upon Mr. Erskine Sharp’s untimely death in 1953 he became the Ford Dealer in Pulaski. He was a long-time member and director of the Tennessee Automotive Association. Bill loved cars and loved to drive, which he did well into his 90s until a few weeks of his death.
Once achieving the blessed state of grandparenthood, Bill became known affectionately as Dado, twice attending Sara Katherine’s Summer Camp for Grandparents and making many a trip to Cracker Barrel with Halle. He attended church regularly at Pulaski First United Methodist Church where he served on every church committee. After church, he could often be found riding over to the Murrey farm in Cornersville.
Dado enjoyed sharing a meal with loved ones, often insisting you try a bite of one of his favorites. He loved to spend time with family and friends, particularly at the Elk River where he was always ready for a sunset boat ride. If you were lucky, you might get treated to his homemade peach ice cream. Dado did love his sweets. In fact, just hours after his passing, his granddaughter got a reminder from See's Candies asking if he would be placing his regular holiday order. The family took it as a sign that Dado had made it to heaven and they have candy.
Bill had a memory like an elephant never forgetting the names of those he came in contact with. He had a wonderful sense of humor and his storytelling was something to behold.
Through the years, the family lost count of how many smoky gray cats Dado named Trouble, and he absolutely adored Sara Katherine’s little dog Vinny, who could bring out the sparkle in Dado’s bright blue eyes with just a mention. He was a snappy dresser and kept his wavy shock of bright white hair neatly combed. He had a mischievous laugh, a loving hug and kiss, and a generous heart.
Throughout his life, Bill believed in building and serving his country, his community, his church, and his family. Living through the Great Depression and a Veteran of World War II, he was surely a part of the Greatest Generation. He is best remembered as a proud and loving husband, father, and grandfather, and was a friend to all he met, ready with a handshake and easy smile. He was genuinely interested in and cared about others, asking about the details of your life and inquiring about family. He was a man of deep and abiding faith. He brought great joy to his family who will miss him tremendously, but celebrate a life well lived, knowing not only that he is with his Lord, Jesus Christ, but also that Sara Frances and his sister DeeDee were waiting at the gates for him.
The Lord showed Bill Murrey what is good, and Bill lived his life not perfectly, but perfectly loved. “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God,” Micah 6:8.
Safe home, Dado, ‘til we meet again.