Wilbert Murray

Wilbert  Murray

Wilbert Murray was born July 1, 1935, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Basel and Mary Murray. Wilbert joined eight older brothers and later welcomed two younger brothers into the Murray clan. Wilbert is the last of the Murray brothers to transition from this life into eternity.

Wilbert often told stories of growing up on the farm his parents owned in Fosters, Alabama. He arose early and worked long hours alongside his brothers. His mother recognized Wilbert’s aptitude for learning and urged his father to let him complete school and enroll in college. After high school graduation Wilbert enrolled in Alabama A&M as an industrial arts major. He was unable to return after the first year, but his love of learning and his mechanical and engineering skills continued to grow throughout his life.

At the age of 19 Wilbert enrolled in the United States Navy where he served in active duty for eight years. While enlisted, Wilbert earned his Interior Communications Electrician Class A certification, furthering his training in electrical and mechanical engineering. Wilbert spoke often of his time stationed aboard the USS Forrestal, where he was stationed in and around the Mediterranean Sea. Even as his memory declined, he could recall his time in on the ship and the challenges and the triumphs he experienced as a Navy man. It was during this period in life that Wilbert developed a love of travel and photography.

Wilbert moved to Cleveland with his older brothers and there he met his bride, Winona, who preceded him in death. The two were joined in marriage on December 31, 1959. To this union was added Michael Elias and Wilbert Christoper, II (Chris). Wilbert was also the proud father of one daughter, Queenella, who preceded him in death. He was employed by the United States Postal Service for 36 years. By the time he retired in 1990, Wilbert had been promoted to Regional Manager of Plant Maintenance over all postal facilities in Ohio.

Wilbert began his relationship with Jesus Christ at an early age. He would often travel to churches around Fosters with his older brothers who had formed a singing group. Wilbert and Winona attended Providence Baptist Church in Cleveland Ohio for several years, until their health made it challenging. Their Providence family knew exactly which pew they could find Wilbert and Winona sitting, at the eight o’clock morning service. In his later years, Wilbert enjoyed studying the Bible, taking copious notes during Sunday sermons, studying commentaries, and engaging (and debating) in conversation about scriptures with his family. Even as dementia began to impact his memories, Wilbert could recite Psalm 23, The Lord’s Prayer, and verses from the gospels, particularly the Gospel of John. When the names of family members became faint, he could still sing the words to hymns from his childhood and years in church.

Wilbert was an avid Cleveland sports fan, particularly the Cleveland Browns. He and Winona had season tickets to the Cleveland Indians. Most Sundays during football season their home was a central gathering place to watch the Browns. Their door was always open to anyone who wanted to stop by for a visit, be it family or friends, or the friends of their children. Jazz, Motown, and Blues could always be heard, just under the laughter and loud yelling at whatever team was being televised. In retirement, Wilbert developed a love for golf and would play often with his wife. He further developed his hobbies of photography and travel.

Most important, Wilbert loved his family. He was a supporter and advisor to many brothers, cousins, nieces, and nephews. He served as the president of the Cleveland chapter of the Alabama Family Reunion Club and rarely missed a reunion. Wilbert was also one of the historians of the Murray family and could remember the names of relatives in Joliet, Illinois, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Mississippi. Family was always a priority; he was a committed husband, father, grandfather, brother, and uncle.

Wilbert transitioned into his eternal home with Jesus quietly and peacefully on December 15, 2023. He leaves to cherish his memory son Micheal (Marilyn), W. Christopher (Angela), grandsons Christopher Malik, Jared Michael, and Amare Miles, granddaughters Zakiya (Herbert) Parker, Aisha Behlin, great-grandchildren Herbert Jr. and April Parker, and a host of cousins, nieces and nephews that extend from Cleveland to Alabama.

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