James ‘Jim’ O. Murray
James Orval Murray, 93, of Greer, South Carolina, husband for 54 years of the late LaMar Wells Murray, died peacefully at home on March 13, 2023.
He was a native of Kannapolis, North Carolina, son of the late R. Perry and Gertrude Murray. It was evident early in Jim’s life that music would be his calling. He completed two years of music study at Mars Hill College, and then received his Bachelor of Music degree from Baylor University. While completing his senior year at Baylor, he met LaMar Wells, who was the Minister of Music at First Baptist Church in Franklin, North Carolina, followed by music ministry at Trinity Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Jim served in the United States Army for two years, and was part of the Army Band, assigned to the base in Orleans, France. Following completion of his military service, he was Minister of Music at First Baptist Church, Jonesboro, Georgia, and then at Woodland Heights Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia. He responded to the call to become Minister of Music at First Baptist Church, Greer, South Carolina, where he served for 30 years, and in 1993 was named Minister of Music Emeritus. He later served interim positions at several nearby churches before a long-term interim at Fountain Inn Presbyterian Church. During his years of church ministry, Jim developed active children, youth, and adult choirs, along with handbell and instrumental groups. He was a member of the South Carolina Singing Churchmen.
At age 50, Jim fulfilled a long-time dream of flying airplanes when he obtained his private pilot’s license. After retirement from Greer First Baptist, he began building his own 2-seater aircraft, which he enjoyed flying for many years. Jim also enjoyed being an amateur radio operator.
Jim was known for his booming laugh and broad smile, and is remembered and respected by many of the people, young and old, whose lives he positively touched during his many years of church music ministry.
Surviving are his loving daughters, Dr. Sharon Murray and Denise Smith, both of Greer; three grandchildren, Josh Smith of Greer, Maria Beasley (John) of Greenwood, South Carolina, and Mark Smith (Jaden) of Kenai, Alaska; and five great-grandchildren.
In addition to his wife and parents, Jim was also preceded in death by his sister, Sara Joyce, and his brother, Dr. Kenneth Murray.
A private graveside service will be held.
Memorials may be made to Greer First Baptist Church Worship Ministry, 202 West Poinsett Street, Greer, Sc 29650 or Greer Community Ministries, P.O. Box 1373, Greer, SC 29652.
Online condolences may be made at www.thewoodmortuary.com.