Passed away peacefully with his family by his side on February 23, 2019, at his home in Arlington, VA, three weeks after celebrating his 95th birthday.

He leaves his beloved wife of 60 years and best friend, Barbro, their children, Martin (Joyce) and Ingrid (George) West, and his sister Jean (Eddie) Cooper. Murray will also be fondly remembered by his five grandchildren, Erik, Ryan, Ben, Casey and Alicia; his brother- and sister-in-law, Göran and Ulla Winberg; four nieces and nephews; and many other family members and close friends. He was predeceased by his parents, Eric and Minnie (Cohen) Gendell and Aaron Wartell, and his brother, Seymour.

Murray had a life-long love of books, numbers and education. From the time he was a young boy in New York, one of his favorite past-times was going to the library where he spent countless hours reading to satisfy his innate curiosity. He graduated from high school at the age of 16 and fulfilled his dream of going to college after completing his military service in 1947, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University in 1950, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Columbia University in 1963.

He married the love of his life in 1958 and quickly embraced her Swedish heritage. Over the next decade, they lived in Stockholm (where he studied and became fluent in Swedish), then in New York, Switzerland and Berkeley, CA before settling in Northern Virginia in 1966. They raised their children in Alexandria, retired in Springfield, and spent his final year in Arlington.

Murray was Professor of Sociology, Emeritus, at Georgetown University where he played a key role in the establishment of GU’s Department of Sociology in the late 1960s and later the Department of Demography, which he chaired from 1982 through 1986, while also serving as Director of the Center for Population Research from 1984 through 1986. He had a particular interest in workforce and retirement trends, and was still analyzing labor statistics and updating numerous publications on the subject well into his 90s. His legacy at Georgetown includes countless students who credit his extraordinary teaching and course development abilities as having a profound impact on their own careers.

In his personal life, Murray was likewise an outstanding conversationalist with a keen sense of humor and natural ability to engage others in stimulating discussions on a wide variety of subjects. He was a devoted friend and treasured those bonds deeply, many of which dated back to his childhood or early adult life.

He was a peaceful and giving man with a gentle spirit, an avid bird watcher who was also fond of cats – one in particular whose favorite place was always the crook of Murray’s arm. His happiest moments included traveling with his wife whom he adored fiercely, hosting gatherings of friends and family in their home, and spending time with his children and grandchildren in whom he took much pride.

The Celebration of Murray’s life will take place at 2:30pm on Saturday April 27 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, 4444 Arlington Blvd., Arlington, VA. For reception planning purposes, please let us know if you plan to attend by emailing [email protected]

10 Responses to MURRAY GENDELL

  1. Annika Billing-Thorslund says:

    Murray was a dear friend❤️. We think back of many get-togethers in Sweden, and of Barbro coming to pick us up for a visit at their Washington home. Annika also visited them in California back in the sixties after attending a Girl Scouts Roundup in the Rocky Mountains.

    Murray was a dear, devoted and humble person. We’ll miss him.

    Annika & Sverker Thorslund

  2. Ulrika Svahn says:

    Dear Barbro and family! ❤️
    So beautifully and nicely described in memory of her father.
    Murray was a wonderfully warm, genuine and loving person.
    We will remember him with love.
    Many thoughts and hugs from our family to you all.
    Cousin Ulrika with family

  3. Edward Goldstein says:

    Dear Barbo and Family:
    I think of my beloved cousin Murray every day. His spirit is within me.
    Throughout my life I have always viewed him as my role model. He is truly “second to none”.
    On the day of his memorial I will recite a Jewish prayer for his departed soul.
    I offer a warm embrace to all.

  4. Björn Billing says:

    Murray, you will always live in our hearts as a wonderful and kind spirit.
    Thank you for everything you have given us.
    Björn & Jacquie Billing

  5. Gabbie Billing says:

    Dear Barbro & Family,
    My deepest sympathies for the loss of your beloved Husband, Father & Grandfather. Murray was a kind soul and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to know him. I enjoyed laughter and stories of the past over coffee at your home in Virginia, followed by dancing and memories at Erik’s wedding. Sending all of my loving thoughts and keeping his memory in my heart. We wish you all healing and comfort knowing that he was loved by many.
    Gabbie Billing

  6. Ulla and Goran Winberg says:

    Dearest American branch members of our family!

    Our beloved brother-in-law could not possibly be better described!
    Unfortunately, we will not be able to attend the “Celebration of Murray’s life” but we will of course be with all of you in our thoughts on April 27.
    We are so happy that we grabbed the opportunity to visit you in Arlington the end of last year, when we also could see the lovely and suitabel new home Barbro and Murray had moved to.

    Endless love to all of you from the family branch on the other side of the big ocean.

  7. Becky Baillie says:

    Dear Barbro, family and friends,
    My husband, Larry, and I, along with the rest of my family met Murray and Barbro, around the time of Ingrid’s and my brother, Tad’s (or George, as you probably know him) wedding. It was lovely to meet them and I will always have fond memories of our get togethers at Christmas and Easter. Murray and I had many interesting conversations over the years and was always struck with what a gracious host he was.
    I know this is a tough time for Barbro and her kids and grandkids but I know they will take comfort in the knowledge of how much he cherished them. Love, Becky Baillie

  8. Franklin Lee says:

    Dear Barbro, Ingrid and Martin,
    I often think of you folks because of the cross that Barbro made for me at my retirement. Little did I know that I would be wearing it at worship for 18 more years. I trust that all of you received the gifts of love and joy that Murray radiated upon all of us, even to those of us who saw him less often. May his memory fill you with energy and zest for life for as long as you all live.
    Frank Lee Pastor

  9. Susan N. DeHaven says:

    Dear Barbro- We just recently learned of Murray’s death from Gene Wunderlich when we went to lunch at Greenspring on April 3. We are sadden by his death, but rejoice that he is with the Lord. All four love and prayers to you and the family. Susan and Stewart DeHaven, Peace Lutheran Church.

  10. Tom Crouse says:

    Tom and I are sorry to learn of Murray’s death. We remember him, you and your family in our thoughts and prayers. We know you took really good care of Murray in his decline.
    We hope to see you at Peace sometime.
    Tom and Carol Crouse

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