I realize that most of you did not know J. Douglas “Jerry” Murray. He was a Rotarian from a bygone era. However he is among that pantheon of Rotarians who should be remembered for their contributions to this club and the community.

I must now give a disclaimer that Jerry was not only a fellow Rotarian but he became a close personal friend. I appreciate your letting me reminisce a little about Jerry. This is good for my soul.

Jerry was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, colleague, mentor, teacher, doctor and friend.

Dr. J. Douglas Murray grew up in the Midwest, was educated at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio and he graduated from Western Reserve University School of Dentistry in 1967. He continued his advanced studies at Boston University specializing in Periodontology and was awarded his degree in 1971.

Jerry served with the 173 rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam and was awarded two bronze star medals for his service and other awards including the Combat Medic Badge and the Parachute Badge. He received his jump school training in Vietnam with the 5th Special Forces Group.

Upon graduating from B.U. Jerry established a practice in Winchester and at about the same time in the early 70’s Jerry joined Rotary, he served as President in 1980-1981, and was made a Paul Harris Fellow in 1984. Jerry passed away on September 28, 2021 at the age of 80.

I met Jerry here at Rotary. When giving a eulogy the presenter should not enter into a personal discourse but in some rare cases, such as this, it is impossible to separate the two. There is no better word I can use to describe Jerry than friend. Jerry took “friendship”, a Rotary guiding principle, to a whole new level. In the early 1970’s there was a whole new generation of Rotarians. The remnants of that group are Larry Murray, Neal Harte, Dick Sampson and yours truly. In an effort to strengthen that bond of friendship Jerry undertook an effort to expand interaction among those new members by promoting activities and events that fostered common interests and encouraged us to develop a unique sense of camaraderie.

His impact on this club was generational. He was the consummate Rotarian. All of the clichés and terms used to describe the perfect Rotarian apply to Jerry. Dependable and disciplined; fair, ethical and honorable; a leader, a man of integrity; commitment, fellowship and friendship; the ideal of service, Service Above Self; and the all encompassing Four-Way Test: · Is it the TRUTH? · Is it FAIR to all concerned? · Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? · Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Jerry joined the club during the mid-term of the Barn and Auction. It happened that Jerry worked for Bekins the movers during his college summers. That experience fit in perfectly with the barn and Jerry figuratively and literally carried the club on his back. His never-say-never philosophy led to some great pick-ups that required more than a passing knowledge of moving. Jerry never waited for someone else to do it but also never failed to ask for help and he always got it. Sometimes Rotarians joined in just for the fun of the experience. Like the time he orchestrated the removal of 300lb + coffin style piano over on Cambridge Street. That brought a pretty penny at the auction and a few sore backs.


 

J.D. loved a good time. Whenever he could take it up a notch he would. The Director’s meetings were held at 7:00 in the evening at the President’s house. After the business meeting there was a time for some light refreshments and a liquid accompaniment. Traditionally the cuisine was cold cuts from D’Agostino’s. Jerry changed that and the fare became linguine with clam sauce or maybe lobster fra diavlo with buccatini.

The President’s cookout was also held at the president’s home. The center piece of Jerry’s menu was 50+ pound of a steamship round of beef. But how to cook it on Jerry’s new stone BBQ with an industrial size spit? Purchase the beef from our friend, the GM of the Logan Hilton, have his kitchen partially cook the beef and then have Jack go over and pick it up, pan and all, and deliver to Jerry’s. That was a long drive from East Boston with the aroma wafting throughout the van.

There was the Rotarian family winter trip to Drumlin Farm where there were sleigh rides and hot chocolate by the big fireplace.

There was the yearly Christmas party for the kids from Nazareth Home in Jamaica Plain. Jerry helped plan and orchestrate that great event. 40 kids bussed to the luncheon at the K of C and treated to an early Christmas by the club membership.

Jerry also formed the “Chowder and Gourmet Society” which was nothing more than an excuse to get together outside of club meetings and have some fun. The group’s number fluctuated between 10 – 20 couples. It could be a bus ride into Boston for a night of wining and dining in the North End or it could be a theme dinner like the French night held at the Wark’s house. Each of the couples involved were assigned a dish for the meal. Jerry chose the soup course. He said he would bring French Onion soup. Not that I didn’t trust Jerry but I took a ride by his house the night before to check on his progress. I found him in tears peeling 10 lbs of onions. I was satisfied. The next night at dinner when the soup was served Charlie Ferrari asked for the recipe it was so delicious. It was then that we learned when Jerry was loading the cauldron of soup into his car he place it on the hood while he opened the door. Being on an incline the cauldron slid down the hood onto the ground. Jerry not one to be daunted rushed up the street to Star Market bought all of the cans of Habitant onion soup on the shelves and raced to the dinner. We were none the wiser.

Back in 1982 when medicine was different I spent 3 months up on the hill at Winchester Hospital. During that time the Harte’s and Jerry Murray in true Rotary spirit made sure that my family was safe and comfortable in my absence. There are 2 things that Jerry did during that time that I will never forget. The first, after a couple of months as a guest at the hospital the days got long, tiring and boring. One night Jerry arrived at my room and quietly the room started to fill with staff and a few visitors that overflowed into the hallway. Next a woman appeared at my bedside, set down a boom box, took off her coat and started to entertain the room with a belly dance. I was in traction and had limited movement but I can assure you that the event was the best medicine at that moment.

Jerry also knew that I had been watching the barn for a piano to come in. One was donated during that summer. He had our resident piano expert Sal Porras check one out and told me that for a $100 donation to the club the piano was mine and that all it needed was good tuning. The club policy was not to deliver items sold at the barn but Jerry twisted a few arms and got a crew to load the big upright into the truck and delivered it to our house. The rest is history as they say.

I had the honor of presenting Jerry with his Paul Harris Fellow in 1984. Wanting to surprise Jerry I decided to make the presentation at the Christmas Party scheduled for Baldwin Landing in Woburn. During the summer I contacted one of his brother’s in Ohio looking for some information about Jerry’s youth. By snail mail, no email back then. When his family learned of the award they informed me that they would like to attend the presentation in December. I was pleasantly surprised and immediately changed the format to a “This is Your Life” party. The family members arrived a day early stayed at a nearby hotel and came early to the Baldwin. We hid them in an upper room until I introduced Jerry as the recipient and proceeded to talk about his life. Then I said maybe someone there could tell the story better and with that his family came from behind a screen. I think that is the only time I saw Jerry in tears. That remains as one my favorite nights in Rotary.

Jerry was always ready to lend a hand for a friend. My daughters mentioned they wanted a swing set, Jerry was within earshot so the next day we were at Barker Lumber picking up 2 X 10’s, lag bolts, rope, chains and a plastic tire. In a few hours the girls had an awesome swing set spanning 2 large trees in the yard. Another time I asked Jerry if he knew a mason to put in a new walkway. No he said but we can do it. I asked if he had ever done it before, no was his reply. The following week with shovels in hand and with no experience we installed a walkway. It lasted for over 30 years. I was one of many who benefited from Jerry’s friendship. If you look in Webster’s under friend Jerry’s name should be there. I would like to end with a poem.


 


 

"Death is Nothing at All” by Henry Scott Holland, an English clergyman, was written in 1910. The poem was popularized by the Carmelite monks in Tallow, County Waterford.

"Death is Nothing at All"

Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner. All is well

Memories Dear friend will hold us until we meet again.

Requiescat in Pace” - Rest in Peace