Judge Murray remembered as caring father, and for fairness on bench
BY STEVE METSCH firstname.lastname@example.org August 26, 2014 7:46PM
Judge Michael Murray | Supplied photo
Updated: September 28, 2014 6:31AM
Judge Michael Murray was a fair man who was a good father, a devoted husband, and an apolitical, independent-minded judge who seldom brought his work home with him, two of his sons said Tuesday.
Murray, 79, of Orland Park, and formerly a longtime resident of Chicago’s Beverly community, died Saturday, two weeks after he had a heart attack.
A native of Beverly, he grew up with five brothers in a home on Longwood Drive near Ridge Park. He and a younger brother hoisted an American flag every day on the corner during World War II, son Dave Murray said.
Judge Murray had a long career in law in private practice, as an attorney for Chicago Public Schools, and as a judge.
From 1987 to 2007, he served as an associate judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Based at the Bridgeview courthouse, he also heard a wide variety of cases in courthouses around the county, son Matt Murray said.
Matt was an eighth-grader when Judge Murray became a judge and recalled “an overwhelming sense of pride” in his father.
Being the son of a judge, he said, “did feel a bit like winning the lottery because we were so proud of him ... But he wouldn’t bring work home with him often, hardly ever.”
Judge Murray’s brother, Jim, was an Illinois Appellate Court judge, and later served as a Chicago alderman and U.S. congressman, Matt said.
“He and my dad were very close ... all the old Chicago stories about law,” he said.
Judge Murray’s parenting style allowed his children to learn from their mistakes.
“He was a very caring, considerate guy who never imposed his wishes on us, and let us figure out our own way through life, with as much guidance and autonomy as he could,” Matt said.
Judge Murray graduated from Leo High School in 1953, Villanova University in 1957, and the DePaul University College of Law in 1962. He became the chief attorney for Chicago Public Schools until 1981. He was a partner in the law firm Murray & Girard before he moved to the bench.
Dave Murray, 13 years older than Matt, had another perspective on his father, who would bring him along to Springfield when he represented Chicago Public Schools on various issues. Dave was able to spend time on the floor of the General Assembly thanks to his father.
“I won’t call him a political animal because he was apolitical. That’s probably why he was an associate judge and not a full circuit court judge. He was very independent-minded and well-respected,” Dave said.
“Dad was an honest and forthright guy and pretty inclusive. We live in an age where if you don’t believe in what I believe, you may as well jump off a cliff. Dad could have a bitter argument with somebody, but at the end of the day (his thoughts were) ‘We’re all Americans, and let’s go out and have a beer,’ ” Dave said.
“His mentality was that it takes multiple different beliefs and ideas to build a consensus,” he said. “That was very important to my dad.”
Dave treasures a book about Woodrow Wilson his father gave him with the personal notation: “A fascinating and uplifting book. Wilson was an idealistic President. Wish we had more like him. Love, Dad.”
Their father may have been “kind of bookish,” Matt said, but he loved attending Notre Dame and Chicago Bears football games.
Judge Murray served in the Navy from 1957 to 1959, returning home to celebrate the White Sox being in the World Series.
“Dad was also at Comiskey Park when the (Chicago) Cardinals won the NFL title in ’47,” Dave said.
Judge Murray also is survived by Madeline, his wife of 55 years; another son, Tim; one daughter, Carol; and eight grandchildren.
Visitation for Judge Murray will be from 3 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Curley Funeral Home (Heeney-Laughlin Directors), 6116 W. 111th St., Chicago Ridge. A funeral Mass will be said at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Christ the King Roman Catholic Church, 9235 S. Hamilton Ave., Chicago. Burial will be at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.
The family asks that memorials be made to Palos Hospice in Lemont or the Christ the King St. Vincent DePaul Society.