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Memoriam Dr. Nial P. Murray

Dr. Nial P. Murray
Dr. Nial Murray, 1927-2016

Nial Murray, MB, BCh, BAO, FFARCS, the jaunty little Irishman, blessed (or cursed) with the “gift for gab” (he would readily point out that “he was NOT a man of few words”), a staff member of the Department of Anesthesiology at Wake Forest Medical School from 1983 – 1989, was laid to rest at the columbarium at St. Leo’s Church in Winston-Salem, next to his beloved wife Marlene, on January 29, 2016.  Nial was born in Downpatrick, Ireland, on December 9, 1927, and ended his earthly travels at Hughes House affiliated with Pennybyrn at Maryfield in High Point, N.C., on January 23, 2016. 

Dr. Murray was educated and trained in Ireland (University and Medical School) and London (Anaesthesia Residency), then spent several years in different staff positions at various hospitals, mostly in Liverpool.  He was lured to the United States and the Beth Israel Hospital within the Harvard Medical System by Henrik Bendixen in 1965, where - with the exception of brief tours in Tennessee and Florida – he spent the majority of his clinical time.  Frank James subsequently attracted him to Wake Forest in 1983, where he practiced in the Section of OB-Anesthesia at Forsyth Memorial Hospital until retiring in 1989.  Though only 62 at the time of setting aside his epidural needle, Nial had suffered several physical set-backs his last year, forcing his decision.  One of those was learning that he had contracted Lyme disease, which was discovered (and successfully treated) two months after leaving his academic position.  Despite his return to full health, he lacked the desire to continue any further practice of anesthesia.  

While in Winston-Salem, he and his wife were very active in the church and a variety of community social activities, especially the Irish Children’s Summer Exchange program.  After retiring they moved to Leesburg, FL, for several years, ultimately returning to Winston-Salem in 2001 where they felt a greater affiliation to church and extended family.  

While he was a man small in stature, he was of a huge heart.  Though gone from the clinical area for over 25 years, there are still several of us who remember his antics, mimicking colleagues behavior to gain a laugh (especially myself or David Dewan), or his walking in to the Holding Area in the morning to meet his C/S patient, only to openly comment about how she was “well-covered”!  A fixed presence at the OB-Anesthesia Christmas parties, he made certain that “no awkward silences occurred”.  He was a man that I completely trusted and respected, and I was glad that he was my friend.  Nial truly had a very good and blessed life.  May he now rest well through eternity, joined with his truest love, his wife Marlene.

Terrence D. Bogard, M.S., M.D.
Emeritus Associate Professor of Anesthesiology

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