Virginia McMurray

Obituary of Virginia Taylor McMurray

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Virginia (Ginny) Taylor McMurray quietly passed away on the afternoon of February 1, 2024 at her home in Hurdle Mills, North Carolina. She was 97.

Virginia Taylor was born on New Year’s Eve Day, 1926 in Durham, North Carolina to John Arnold Taylor and Bessie Minton Taylor. She was the youngest of five children in a household that also contained her brother, a stepbrother, and two stepsisters. As a child, Virginia was spirited and athletic, loved to ride her bicycle and climb trees, and nearly always had skinned and scabbed knees in her studio portrait photographs. She also loved to sing in the chorus at school and in the choir of the Grey Stone Baptist Church. She used to say that participating when she was four years old in a Tom Thumb wedding, that iconic pop culture fad of the 1930’s, was the milestone event of her childhood; she remembered the gala yellow dress she wore in that wedding pageant to the end of her days. In another milestone event, in 1946, she married Samuel Franklin McMurray, a Duke University NROTC student from Tampa, Florida. She spent the next 30 years of her life as a dutiful Navy officer’s wife, packing up her household and moving frequently from place to place as her husband’s military orders changed, holding down the fort at home while her husband was away at sea for months at a time, and raising three daughters.

After her husband’s eventual retirement from his second career working with military defense corporations, she lived in Sanford, North Carolina, caring for Sam during more than a decade of his serious illness, and then, after his death in 2003, making a busy new life for herself on her own: enjoying her and many others’ grandchildren, serving as president of the HOA of her Carolina Trace neighborhood, leading water aerobics exercise classes until she was 90, and daily entertaining a fond circle of friends. She loved flowers and was an artful arranger of them (“always leave room in a floral arrangement for a bird to fly through” was her mantra) and she loved to read; she, who herself was as plucky as they come, was hardly ever without a novel in her hands about a plucky heroine. Old western movies and TV shows starring John Wayne and Matt Dillon were also longtime passions of hers. But, especially in her final years, “Miss Ginny” was a devoted watcher of birds. From her birdwatching chair in her last home in Hurdle Mills, she spent many hours each day delighting in the astonishing variety of wild birds that flocked to her feeders.

Virginia Taylor McMurray is survived by her three daughters (Gail McMurray Gibson [McNeill], Elizabeth Hargrave [Douglas], and Debra Nutting [John]), seven grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Ginny’s memory be made to Gentiva Hospice, 2730 Tucker St., Suite 300, Burlington, NC 27215.

A celebration of life service for close family and friends will be announced at a later date.

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