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News > Passing of friends > Farewell to Robert (Bob) Malcolm Murray (1951S)

Farewell to Robert (Bob) Malcolm Murray (1951S)

A tough, savvy outdoorsman who was an environmentalist, botanist, game tracker and birder.

Bob Murray was a School House boarder and prefect at Bishops, where he completed his matric year in 1951.  At school he enjoyed playing sports, ringing the Chapel bells, and participating in Bird Club activities. 

From an early age, Bob was a consummate outdoorsman.  Whenever possible, he would study water birds and shorebirds from his kayak on Zeekoe Vlei and Rondevlei.  On visits to the family farm in Banhoek Valley, Bob would be in his khakis within minutes, setting off with his flyfishing rod or .22 rifle, and returning home after a few hours, bearing several trout or a guinea fowl. 

Following high school, Bob attended Elsenburg Agricultural College where he earned an agricultural diploma.  He worked as a farm manager for several years in the Cape and Gauteng, and gained some experience on a dairy farm in Maryland, USA.  He then joined the Natal Parks Board and became a dedicated Game Ranger.  He worked initially in the Hluhluwe Game Reserve, and then at St Lucia (Charter’s Creek) where he expanded his knowledge of nature and bushcraft while at the same time learning to speak fluent Zulu.

Anyone fortunate enough to visit a Park or Game Reserve with Bob soon learned to respect his extensive knowledge and understanding of both plant and animal life.  He was an excellent Birder and game tracker, and enjoyed sharing his expertise with others.

After leaving the Natal Parks Board, Bob bought a farm, Middlefield, in the Greytown area of KwaZulu Natal and spent years expanding and improving both the property and the dairy operation there.  He also helped maintain his in-laws’ forested property Brookhill in that area.  In later years, Bob and his wife Jean moved to the retirement community at Amber Glen near Howick in KwaZulu Natal.  Here he produced a regular nature newsletter and continued his bird-watching activities to the end. Members of the retirement community loved to bring him interesting creatures both alive and dead – it was far from unusual to find a dead bird or snake in the freezer!

Bob died on June 12, 2022, after suffering a prolonged decline in his health and then contracting the Covid 19 virus. 

He was predeceased by both his first wife Anne (Pickles) and his second wife Jean (Coxon).  He is survived by 5 children:  Patricia (Sully), Susan (Erickson), Gill (Murray), Nicola (Stuart), and Gordon (Murray).  Also surviving are his brother, Phillip (Murray), and sister, Pamela (Balchin).  In addition, he leaves eleven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

He will be remembered with fondness by family and friends.

   Written by brother Phillip Murray (1960S)

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