Richard J. Murray passed away peacefully at his home in Barnegat Light, NJ, on February 14, 2021. He was born in Manville, NJ, and resided in the state his entire life. He was 91.
Richard was an attorney at law, a magistrate, and a mayor. A true Renaissance Man, he was an expert on the history of the land in New Jersey; was a skilled fisherman and hunter; an editor; designed and built a family home in Harvey Cedars; traveled widely; and took up painting mid-life. (The walls of his home were lined with his many works.)
Richard Murray was born Feb. 4, 1930. At Somerville High School, he was an all-state football and baseball player. In 1948, he was honored as the recipient of the Somerville Recreation Samuel Yohn Memorial Award.
Richard attended Dickenson College in Carlyle, PA, where he earned his undergraduate degree, and played baseball. A member of the Alpha Chi Rho fraternity, he and his brothers planned one of the first of the famous “Mermaid Weathervane” heists, taking the ornament from the cupola of Benjamin Latrobe’s Old West building. Richard received a law degree from Dickenson Law School, where he was an editor of the law review. He was elected mayor of Hillsborough Township in 1960. He was a municipal judge in South Bound Brook and Far Hills.
As parents of five children, he and his wife, Joanne, purchased a lot in Harvey Cedars, on which he designed and built the locally-famous “Round House” with his own hands, alongside his teenage son, Richard, Jr., in 1969.
In 1961, he was taught to paint by Frank Riley at the Arts Student’s League in New York City. A talented and prolific artist, he painted landscapes of the many places he traveled as well as scenes from his home, Long Beach Island.
Richard and Joanne were world travelers, but their favorite places were Long Beach Island, the Florida Keys, and New York City. Each morning, Richard looked at the Barnegat Lighthouse, which could be seen from their living room window, and said, “I love living here.”
A legendary fisherman and hunter, he was a lifetime member of the Pequest Anglers Club, and the Musconetcong Trout Club. It was said that he hadn’t missed the horn on opening day of trout season for more than seventy-five years. He started the Happy Honkers hunting club in Delaware more than fifty years ago and was such a good shot that he could easily shoot 10 of 10 in skeet with many doubles.
For relaxation, he enjoyed watching polo, and playing tennis well into his eighties.
Joanne Murray, nee Kitchen, his wife of 67 years, told her mother that she was going to marry Richard upon first meeting him at a party 71 years ago. They were married in 1954 and had five children.
Richard J. Murray is survived by his wife, Joanne, his son, Richard Jr. (Gayle Andrews-Murray), and his daughters; Elizabeth Ioannou (Yiannis Ioannou), Joan Murray, Anne Murray, Mary Kate Murray (Robert Simonson); and grand-children Matthew, Michael, Joanna, Filipa, Andrew and Richard.
To the very end, each night as he went to sleep, Richard would turn to his wife and say, “Joanne, thank you for giving me a wonderful life.”
Those wishing to make a donation in his honor, may do so to Hackensack Meridian Hospice at www.hackensackmeridianhealth.org/give-now/
At the convenience of the family, services are private.