John Murray’s Widow, Valerie Young (Knowlton) Murray, Called Home to Glory

Dr. Valerie Young (Knowlton) Murray, died Aug. 8, 2014, at her home in Freeport, Maine

In 1967 she left teaching and research and moved to the Scottish Highlands, where she married John Murray on Dec. 7, 1967. Valerie and John had two children, Logan and Anne Margaret. John died in May, 1975, and Anne Margaret passed away following a severe asthma attack at age 4 in 1976. Valerie devoted herself to raising Logan and participating in her church community.

 

FREEPORT, ME — Dr. Valerie Young (Knowlton) Murray, died Aug. 8, 2014, at her home in Freeport, Maine.

Born on Jan. 9, 1927, in Augusta, to Cecil Knowlton and Ida Muriel (Young) Knowlton. Along with her mother, she lived with her grandparents, Daniel S. Young, Jr., and Maud Young, who raised her and her sister Patricia. She was educated in Augusta schools and graduated as Valedictorian of Cony High School in 1945. She then attended Smith College in Northampton, Mass., graduating in 1949 with an A.B. in biology. It was at Smith that she developed what would prove to be lifelong friendships with Leigh Berrien Smith and Rose Sun Tchang. Following Smith, Valerie moved to Boston for graduate work at Harvard’s Radcliffe College, receiving her Ph.D. in 1956. During her time in Boston, she was a member of the historic Park Street Church, pastored at that time by Rev. Harold Ockenga, evangelical leader and founder of the National Association of Evangelicals and, later, of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. It was during her time at Park Street that she made her personal commitment to be a follower of Jesus Christ, an evangelical faith that she treasured for the rest of her life. She then moved to Philadelphia and attended Westminster Theological Seminary. It was there that she met her future husband, John Murray. John Murray was a longtime member of the faculty of Westminster Seminary, beloved by generations of students. He published well-regarded theological texts. He and Valerie had a loving marriage characterized by mutual respect, intellectual curiosity, and a passionate love for Jesus Christ.

In 1958, following her studies at Westminster, Valerie joined the faculty of Woman’s Medical College in the Department of Anatomy with her mentor in neuroanatomy, the eminent Hartwig Kuhlenbeck. Founded in 1850, Woman’s Medical was the first medical institution in the world established to train women in medicine and award them the M.D. degree. Her research focused on the neurological development of the embryonic avian brain and led to the publication of many scientific articles. Living in Philadelphia, one of her great joys was being nearby her sister Patricia and her beloved nephews in Princeton, N.J.

In 1967 she left teaching and research and moved to the Scottish Highlands, where she married John Murray on Dec. 7, 1967. Valerie and John had two children, Logan and Anne Margaret. John died in May, 1975, and Anne Margaret passed away following a severe asthma attack at age 4 in 1976. Valerie devoted herself to raising Logan and participating in her church community. In 1981, she and Logan moved to Augusta, where she cared for her aging mother. Starting in the early 1990’s, she was active in the life and ministry of Merrymeeting Bay Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Brunswick, Me.

She will be remembered by those who knew her as a person of generous spirit and compassionate heart, and someone who always placed others above herself. She began a long journey through Alzheimer’s disease in 2003, and in 2008 moved to Freeport, where she lived with her son and daughter-in-law and her three grandsons. Valerie is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Dr. Logan Murray and Mary MacDonald-Murray, and grandsons Joshua, Caleb, and Seth Murray of Freeport; her sister and brother-in-law, Patricia Paine-Dougherty and Robert E. Dougherty of Princeton, N.J.; nephews Thomas Hooker Paine, Jr., and wife Lisa of Sarasota, Fla., John K. Paine and wife Patricia of Montclair, N.J., and F. Rodney Paine and partner Li Chen Chang of New York, N.Y.
The family wishes to thank Valerie’s faithful home caregivers, Jane Pulk, R.N., Patricia Walden, R.N., Louisa Picard, and Jenna Hutchinson -Dumais; her beloved pastor and his wife, Rev. Gordon Cook, Jr., and Pam Cook; the nurses of CHANS Hospice, especially Jo-Ellyn Sturgeon; and Dr. David Salko for their care and devotion during Valerie’s extended illness.

Memorial donations are gratefully accepted to:
The Merrymeeting Bay Orthodox Presbyterian Church Building Fund
P.O. Box 6020
Brunswick, Maine 04011
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