Lifelong Princeton resident Thomas Murray, Jr. dies at 81

Thomas R. Murray, Jr. 81, of Princeton died on Wednesday, Nov. 22, at the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro surrounded by his loving wife and family. He was 81.

Born in Princeton, Murray was a lifelong resident. He graduated from Princeton High School in 1954 and from the Peddie School in 1955. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware, where he played football for the “Fightin’ Blue Hens”. He later received his master’s degree from Trenton State College. He was commissioned in the U.S. Army after graduating from Delaware and became an armor officer after attending the U.S. Army Armor School in Fort Knox, Ky. He would eventually retire at the rank of captain after serving as a company commander in the New Jersey National Guard’s 50th Armored Division.

He retired as a physical education teacher with more than 39 years of service from the Princeton Regional Schools, where he also coached track, football, and wrestling. He was responsible for starting the wrestling program in Mercer County, earning  him the title “Dean of Mercer County Wrestling.” He coached light-weight football at Princeton University from 1969 to 1997, and was also a coach for football and wrestling at the Lawrenceville Prep School. He served more than 50 years as a member of Princeton Engine Company No. 1 and was a member of St. Paul’s Church, NJREA, Mercer County REA, Delaware Chapter of the National Football Foundation and the University of Delaware Diamond Society.

Son of the late Thomas R. and Elizabeth Murray, Sr. he was pre-deceased by three sisters, Dorothy, Frances and Margaret. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Penelope L. (Peabody) Murray, son and daughter in law Thomas R. and Staci Murray III, two daughters and two sons in law Marlissa and Scott Porreca, Michele and Thomas Elder, eight grandchildren Alexis J., Cameron L. and Rhegan E. Murray, Anelyse Louise and Michael Vincent Porreca, Kylie Elizabeth, Tucker Thomas and Ryan Thomas Elder and 3 granddogs Ruby, Tykee and Lula. Calling hours will be held on Monday, Nov. 27,  from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, which is located at 40 Vandeventer Avenue in Princeton. Funeral calling hours will be at 10 a.m.on Tuesday, Nov. 28, at the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home. The mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. at St. Paul’s Church at 216 Nassau Street in Princeton. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the SAVE animal shelter or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.