ROBERT E. MURRAY
On October 25, 2020, Robert E. (“Bob”) Murray, coal miner, mining engineer, company founder and job creator, philanthropist, husband, father, and grandfather, and friend to countless people throughout the country went to his eternal resting place, surrounded by his loving wife and children.
Robert Eugene Murray was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Edward Murray (Mildred E. Shepherd), and the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. William Shepherd (Francis Lucas Shepherd).
Mr. Murray is survived by his wife of 58 years, Brenda L. (Moore) Murray, and sons, Robert Edward Murray, wife Kelly Strauss Murray, Jonathan Robert Murray, and Ryan Michael Murray, wife Melanie Homan Murray. He’s also survived by eight (8) grandchildren, Julia Rose Murray, Colin Robert Murray, Jenna Ann Murray, Jillian Kathleen Murray, Grant Wesley Murray, Sophia Katerin Murray, Noelle Christine Murray, and Evan Michael Murray.
Born on January 13, 1940, in Bethesda, Ohio, Mr. Murray started his journey through life with very humble beginnings. Mr. Murray often mentioned that his first job included being responsible to mow thirty-two (32) lawns on a weekly basis when in his early teens, to help support his family as his father had suffered a life-changing injury while working in a deep mine. At seventeen (17), he began working in a coal mine and, in fact, graduated first in his class at Bethesda High School. Mr. Murray went on to earn a Bachelor of Engineering and Mining from The Ohio State University and graduated from the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University School of Business. Mr. Murray was a Licensed Professional Engineer (PE). Mr. Murray began his mining career at the North American Coal Corporation, working underground, and within that same company, he ultimately rose to become President and Chief Executive Officer in 1983.
In 1988, Mr. Murray founded Murray Energy Corporation, which grew to be one of the largest, most respected energy corporations in the world. When in full operation, Mr. Murray was responsible for the creation of the largest privately owned coal company in the United States, which was headquartered in St. Clairsville, Ohio. Known for his passion, commitment, and unmatched resolve, Mr. Murray forged a place in history as one of the titans of the coal industry and an icon in the entire energy sector, recognized and respected, not just in the United States, but throughout the world. Mr. Murray’s approach and involvement with the coal industry included him continuing to go underground, to personally view his mines and speak directly with the workers. He actively participated in the production, design, and formation of the mining operation, through and including very extensive involvement with federal, state, and local officials in an effort to have a positive effect on governmental rules and regulations affecting the coal industry.
Mr. Murray very often made mention of his passion and respect for his thousands of workers. He felt personally responsible for each and every one of them. He took great pride in knowing that he was helping his workers and their families to earn a good living, provide the opportunity for a family to have good provisions, shelter, and opportunity for the education of their children.
Throughout the years, Mr. Murray was recognized, honored, and decorated with countless awards and honors. He served on multiple boards of mining associations, including a term as President of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers, The Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration, Incorporated, the Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute, The National Mining Association, America’s Power, National Coal Council and others, as well as being included in the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum and receiving the AIME Howard N. Eavenson Award in 1984. At the time of his passing, Mr. Murray was serving as Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Directors of American Consolidated National Resources, Inc.,
In addition to being a member of numerous community oriented organizations, Mr. Murray belonged to the Hazen Lodge #251 F. & A.M., recognized as the Man of the Year and an ongoing contributor to Ohio Cancer Research Associates, very involved with the restoration and upkeep of historic Epworth Park, was actively involved and a long-time supporter of Boy Scouts of America. In 2019, he received the prestigious Silver Buffalo Award, Scouting’s top honor. At the time, when asked why he contributed, Mr. Murray replied, “What I see in Scouting today is character-building. I think it’s a very valuable program for grounding young men and now women in shaping their characters for their lives ahead of them… We need to get young people developed to lead this country. The Scouting movement will help us develop the very best leadership for America as the leader of the world. That’s my ultimate goal.” Mr. Murray was a long-time associate and contributor to the Ohio Republican Party and RNC, as well as miscellaneous other candidates on a federal, state, and local level.
In 2009, Mr. Murray made a gift to the West Virginia University Research Trust Fund which at the time represented the largest single donation in the fund’s history, for the establishment of the Robert E. Murray Chairmanship of Mining and Engineering. Mr. Murray was also very active and generous in the ongoing development of the East Richland Christian School and in particular the establishment and construction of a new building for the school.
Mr. Murray has been featured in countless national trade journals, newspapers, and various syndicated news shows and programs. He also was a long-time supporter of all veterans causes.
While Mr. Murray could be described as demanding, personable, whimsical, impatient, visionary, diligent, he was a person who knew exactly who he was and what he expected of himself and those around him. Those who knew Mr. Murray knew that he loved to communicate with others, but more importantly, he always said something of significance and worthy of the listener’s attention.
Although Mr. Murray’s passion for success, commitment to his workers, involvement in the political process, and penchant for meaningful public communication is all well documented, his absolute devotion, loyalty and commitment to his Christian beliefs far exceeded anything he accomplished from a business standpoint. Not often could you get through a conversation with Mr. Murray without him reminding you that without his Lord, Jesus Christ, none of this would be possible. The Ohio Valley has lost a once-in-a-lifetime business titan and philanthropist; however, God has welcomed from this Earth one of His hardest workers.
Private services for Mr. Murray are being entrusted to Toothman Funeral Home, in St. Clairsville, Ohio, (740) 695-1905. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the East Richland Evangelical Friends Church, 67885 Friends Church Rd., St. Clairsville, Ohio, in Mr. Murray’s memory.