Hempstead civic worker Norman Murray dies at 87
Norman Murray arrived in Hempstead in the early 1950s with the classic Levittown profile -- a World War II veteran looking to start a family -- and would go on to raise the town's top elected official while serving as one of its most civically active residents.
Murray, the father of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray, worked for the town for 22 years after a 25-year career as a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, and is remembered by many as the voice of Hofstra University lacrosse and football. He died Tuesday of complications from cancer. He was 87.
Norman Murray, who served as a signalman and quartermaster in the Navy in the Pacific Ocean theater, was a past president of the Levittown West Republican Club, a member of the Nassau County Planning Commission from 1982 to 1987, and a Levittown school board member in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Kate Murray said her father taught her a love of public service.
"He was always about family, country and church," she said. "They always instilled in us that you weren't a fully realized citizen unless you are fully involved in your community."
Norman Murray was born in Cambridge, Mass., and grew up in North Quincy, Mass. He moved to Long Island from New Jersey in 1951, when he was working for the New York City office of the FBI.
Generations of Long Islanders remember him as the public address announcer at Hofstra University's Shuart Stadium and Mitchel Park Athletic Complex, where he called lacrosse and football games for 50 years. A sign that says "Norm Murray Corner" hangs in the Hofstra press box.
"Norm Murray embodied Hofstra Pride," Hofstra president Stuart Rabinowitz said in a statement.
Murray worked for Hempstead Town from 1987 to 2009, much of that as an executive assistant to the supervisor -- including several years for his daughter, who was elected in 2003.
Longtime friend Joseph Mondello, the Nassau Republican chairman, brought him on board after Mondello was elected town supervisor in 1987. The two had been friends at St. Bernard's Catholic Church in Levittown, where they served as lectors in the early 1970s.
"You think of an FBI agent, you think of a tough, hard-nosed guy. I'm sure he could be, don't get me wrong, but the Norman Murray I know was a gentle soul," Mondello said.
Murray is survived by his wife, Lorraine, and children Kate; Tim Murray of Bellmore; Terence Murray of Wantagh; Maureen O'Toole of Philadelphia; and Anne Murray of Garden City. He was predeceased by two other children, Ellen Leadem and Michael Murray.
Visiting is Friday at Charles J. O'Shea Funeral Home, 603 Wantagh Ave. in Wantagh, from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.
A funeral Mass will be 10:45 a.m. Saturday at St. Bernard's, 3100 Hempstead Tpke. in Levittown. A private burial will follow at Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to the Pat Cairo Family Foundation Inc., 40 Parkwold Dr. W., North Valley Stream, NY 11580.