Marjorie "Jean" Murray
Marjorie "Jean" Murray, 90, a long-time resident of Cedar Rapids, passed away peacefully on Dec. 2, 2020, at the home of her daughter in Colorado Springs, Colo. The cause of death was due to complications of kidney failure.
Jean was born Jan. 3, 1930, to Weir and Ella Nelson. She attended Kenwood Elementary and graduated from Franklin High School before enrolling in the Cummings School of Art in Des Moines in 1948. It was there that she met a handsome Des Moines East High School graduate and fellow art student, Robert Murray. He was the man she would marry, start a family and share her life with for the next 63 years.
Not one to sit around idly, Jean stayed busy over the years using her tremendous artistic talents as fashion illustrator for the downtown Cedar Rapids department stores of Newman's, Killian's and Armstrong's for over 25 years. And, in an era when television cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom, KGAN-TV relied on Jean to provide a charcoal-drawn insider's look at the principals of landmark cases, including some that garnered national attention.
Her passion was doing pastel portraits of people and animals. She was a natural-born teacher, educating many students through the Cedar Rapids Extension programs and later, in retirement, as a volunteer at Kenwood Elementary School. It was there that she was named Volunteer of the Year in 2017. Her painting of the original Kenwood Building hangs in the school as part of its permanent collection.
She was active in Sons of Norway and would be more than happy to regale you with the latest Ole and Lena jokes she had heard, no matter how much they were likely to induce a groan. She was an enthusiastic member and past president of a professional group, Creative Artists, in addition to her life-long involvement in the Kenwood Park United Methodist Church. This was the church where she was confirmed as a Christian and was united in marriage in 1950. Jean spent many years participating in the church's choir, bell choir and the United Methodist Women's group. She also loved presenting the children's sermon and spent many years organizing the annual Crop Walk for hunger.
Jean lived in the same house for 56 years. She adored her neighbors. They were like extended family to her. She somewhat reluctantly moved to Summit Pointe Assisted Living facility in June 2019. She made many friends there too during this short period of her life.
Left to mourn her passing are her children, Kevin (Laura) Murray of Sac City, Iowa, and Sue Aspenson Murray (Dave Aspenson) of Colorado Springs, Colo.; grandsons, Wyatt (Dani) Murray of Shawnee, Kan., and Ethan (Maggie) Murray of Des Moines, Iowa; great-granddaughters, Everly and Mallory Murray of Shawnee, Kan.; brother, Weir (Mary) Nelson of Ely, Iowa; in addition to scores of nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews and other relatives.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Murray; son, Scott Murray; her brothers, Arlon Nelson and Irwin Nelson; and her parents, Weir and Ella Nelson.
A private burial will be held at Cedar Memorial on Jan. 2. A Celebration of Life will be held next summer when it is safe to gather with friends and family at Kenwood Park United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be directed to Kenwood Park United Methodist Church, 175 34th St. NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402.
Online condolences may be left for the family at cedarmemorial.com.