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Josephine L. Murray


Josephine Lee Murray, one of Boston’s leading philanthropists, died at her farm in Boxford, MA on October 3rd 2012, age 91. She was the daughter of Josephine Lee Rantoul Murray and Henry Murray, M.D. Ph.D. and was born in New York City on January 8th, 1921. She grew up in Boston on Beacon Hill, spending weekends at the family farm in Boxford and summers on Grindstone Island in the Thousand Islands region of the St. Lawrence River. She maintained this rhythm most of her life. Graduating from Radcliffe College in 1944, she served in Europe with the Office of Strategic Services during WWII with work that took her to Norway where in her words she “hung out in bars and listened to conversations.” After the war, she lived in Paris for a year with a college friend studying the emerging science of psychoanalysis at the suggestion of her father who was analyzed by both Freud and Jung. She returned to the United States to pursue medicine, graduating from NYU in 1961 followed by an internship at Duke University Hospital. Returning to Boston, she practiced pediatrics working primarily at the Judge Baker Childrens’ Center.

After she retired from medical practice Dr. Murray became well known for her commitment to prevention of nuclear war, environmental protection, classical and early music and the arts. A dedicated supporter of the Boston Symphony, one of her later contributions was to jointly commission John Harbison to compose a cello concerto for Yo Yo Ma and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Her broad interests led her to support many diverse programs in the United States and South America. She served on the boards of several of Boston’s major artistic venues including the Museum of Fine Arts and was closely involved with the Marlboro Music Festival, Apple Hill Concerts, the Boston Camerata, The Boston Philharmonic, the Boston Opera Company, the Boston Lyric Opera, A.R.T, Revels and Shakespeare & Co. She also established scholarships at Radcliffe’s Bunting Institute for Advanced Study. She is survived by first cousins Sylvia Thorndike Pope, Rose Lee Thorndike Sprague, Richard King Thorndike III, Michael Murray and Julia Murray Mackintosh, her stepmother, Nina Murray, and five stepsiblings, Caroline Janover, Ann Kelso MacLaughlin, Quita Davis, Maude Fish and Alexander Davis.

A private graveside service will be held in the Rantoul Family lot in the Harmony

Grove Cemetery in Salem, MA. There will be no visiting hours. For those who wish, memorial contributions may be made in Dr. Murray’s name to: The Boston Camerata P.O. Box 120751 Boston, MA 02112 . Arrangements are under the direction of the Morris Funeral Home of Ipswich, MA. To send a condolence please go to: .

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