Bill R. Murray

Published 1:12 pm Wednesday, March 30, 2016

CORDELE — Funeral services for Bill R. Murray of Cordele were held at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 in the chapel of Rainey Family Funeral Services.  The committal service followed in Zion Hope Cemetery.
The family received friends prior to the service Tuesday beginning at 2:30 p.m. at the funeral home.
Bill passed away Saturday, March 26, 2016 at his residence. He was born in Augusta, Richmond County and was the son of the late Otis Garrison and Ruby Quinn Murray. He was a veteran of the United States Navy having served during World War II and an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Cordele. As a young man he attained the rank of Eagle Scout and was the oldest living Eagle Scout in Crisp County.
Bill was a Registered Forester, Researcher and Instructor (RET) and a Christmas Tree Production Specialist with the University Of Georgia. He was the founder of the Southern Christmas Tree Farm in Cordele and was instrumental in establishing the Georgia Christmas Tree Association in 1960.
He served on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Christmas Tree Association and the National Christmas Tree Association for over two decades and as president of the National Christmas Tree Association for two years.  He identified and propagated a new species of Evergreen, a hybrid of the Leyland Cypress and he was most proud that the Botanical Society named it the Murray Cypress.
Bill was a member of the Cordele Rotary Club.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Sara Stephens Murray of Cordele; a daughter and her husband, Lynn and Manuel Chavarria of Smithville; grandchildren, Lacey Landon and her husband, Cade of Cordele and Manny Chavarria and A.J. Chavarria, both of Smithville; and one great-grandson, Jack Landon of Cordele.
Arrangements are by Rainey Family Funeral Services. An online guestbook is available at