Murray William Barrett (1951-2017)

Below is the official obituary for Murray William Barrett
February 15, 1951 – March 29, 2017.

Murray William Barrett left us for Heaven at 12:30 pm on March 29th, 2017 when the van he was driving back from a Senior Adult Retreat was struck by an oncoming truck.

Murray was born February 15, 1951 to Johnnie William Barrett and Catherine Murray Barrett Raub in Dallas, Texas. He graduated from Bellaire High School in Houston and attended Southwest Texas State University (SWTSU) where he received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and was commissioned into the United States Marine Corps. Murray trained in both fixed-wing jets and helicopters.

After training, he was assigned to Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia and flew the Cobra helicopter. After 6½ years of service, Murray separated from the Marine Corps and became the Lower School Headmaster at Hargrave Military Academy. At the beginning of his second year at Hargrave, Murray was told he also had to teach. It was in teaching that middle school math class he found his true calling.

He returned to SWTSU to work on teacher certification and met his wife of 32 years, Dianne Hayden, who was also attending SWTSU on a military scholarship. Upon her graduation, they married on May 4, 1985 and moved to Dianne’s next assignment in the United States Air Force in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. While there, Murray completed his teaching certification and taught 4th and 5th grade in Del City, Oklahoma.

As Dianne’s military career took them to various locations, they were blessed with four children: Matthew and Jennifer (Jenn) were born on Tinker Air Force Base (Oklahoma City, OK), Russell was born on Keesler Air Force Base (Biloxi, MS), and Cassandra (Cassie) was born on K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base (Gwinn, MI).

At each new duty station, Murray would either teach in the local schools or home school the children.  He modeled for his children a love of God, a love of family, and a love for this great country. Murray was always active in his local church, working with children and singing in the choir.

After Dianne retired from the Air Force, the family took a one year sabbatical to travel through the 48 contiguous states and 9 of the 10 Canadian provinces. Murray taught their children American history by living it. They walked Revolutionary and Civil War battlefields, visited several National Parks and historic landmarks, and toured many of the State and Provincial Capital buildings.

No matter where their travels took them, on Sunday mornings Murray made it a priority to find a place to worship God and fellowship with other believers. When the sabbatical ended they moved to San Marcos, Texas.

In July 2001, they settled in New Braunfels, Texas and found a family of believers at First Baptist Church. Murray taught Math at New Braunfels Middle School and was the sponsor for the Middle School Leo Club. He kept a stash of neck ties in his desk and has taught many 7th grade football players how to tie a tie.

Every year, he would stump his students with a joke about “three kinds of people,” but he was best known for his “math songs” that helped many of his students remember Order of Operations, How to Solve Equations, and other Math and Pre-Algebra skills. Murray’s love for the students who came into his classroom went beyond teaching them Math. He invested his time to help train them to become responsible adults and modeled Christ’s love to them in everything he said and did.

In the spring of 2010, Murray retired from teaching, but couldn’t stay out of the classroom. He started substitute teaching in Comal ISD and driving for school field trips. In the fall of 2016, he added teaching 5th grade math at the First Baptist Kids Academy on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

During the summers Murray worked at Schlitterbahn Waterpark as a bus driver. He was known as the bus driver who told jokes and was a favorite among the kids, both from New Braunfels and from out of town. While passengers were boarding he would ask kids their Math facts. If they got the answer wrong, or too slowly, he would squirt them with a squirt gun. Sometimes the kids would answer incorrectly just to get squirted with water.

Murray also worked faithfully at First Baptist Church teaching 5th and 6th grade Sunday school and helping in the Awana Ministry. Murray firmly believed these preteen age children needed a strong role model who would help them understand their need for the Savior, Jesus Christ. No one was more excited to see a child make a profession of faith than Murray.

Although preteens were his passion, retirement gave Murray more time to become involved in other ways. He was active in the Senior Adult Choir, attended monthly Marine Corps Breakfasts, and was a loyal member of the New Braunfels YMCA 5 am Club.

Having grown up without his own father, Murray took a special interest in fatherless boys throughout his life. Murray loved the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization and personally had three little brothers from three different states. Most recently, Murray has been a Big Brother to Dillon, investing well beyond the program requirements to be a role model and father figure to him for the past 6 years.

Murray was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Bonnie Louise Barrett. He is survived by his wife, Dianne; their four children, Matthew, Jenn, Russell, and Cassie; his cousins Diane Murray Dickson (husband Chet) and Susan Murray Andrews (husband Randy); and numerous sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, and nephews.

Visitation will be held on Saturday, April 8th at 1:00 pm at First Baptist Church in New Braunfels. A Celebration of Murray’s Life will follow at 2:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that memorials may be made in Murray’s name to the Building Fund of First Baptist Church of New Braunfels, Texas or Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas. Please specify Comal and Guadalupe Counties.

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13 thoughts on “Murray William Barrett (1951-2017)

  1. Kathy

    “Some things never end….like love, memory, and the legacy of a life that truly had meaning.” This is so true of Murray’s life and this beautiful obituary conveys what a wonderful man he was and the extraordinary life he led. We are all so lucky that he was a part of our lives.


  2. Burke Harrison

    Loved Your Dad and Grieve for Your Mom
    , You, Matt, Russell & Cassie.
    Sat Right Behind Your Family in Early Church for many years.


  3. You probably do not recognize my name, but when I saw the bus driver name “Murray Barrett” it jumped out immediately. And my reaction was “oh, no”! Before any of you knew him, Murray and his mom were members of Sharpstown Baptist Church in Houston where my husband (Bro. Bob) was pastor for 22 plus years. A daughter described him as “unassuming, sweet Murray” – they graduated from high school the same year: she from Lee High School and he from Bellaire High School. A son remembers being at his house and watching TV as Neal Armstrong walked on the moon. I remember Catherine well. Thank you for a beautiful obituary…I suspect many SBC members of other days join together in prayer for your family. And what joy to know that you will see your Dad again!


  4. Jill

    So many wonderful memories of Sunday school with your family and Murray’s teaching. I always looked forward to his smile and his fun printed shirts – just like the one he is wearing 🙂 We love and are praying for you all.


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  6. Ram Swamy

    Had wonderful feeling reading about your dad Mr. Murray William Barrett.

    Looks like he had touched many hearts with his love and affection.
    Physically he is no more, but the thoughts, loving spirit, will endure for ever.

    My wife Lakshmy join me in our prayers for the departed soul to rest in peace.

    This quote comes to my mind at this time:

    “Some people come into our lives and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never ever the same.”


  7. cristal H

    Your father was my teacher at New Braunfels Middle school and he was amazing. I also knew Russell from school we were in the same grade.

    I just wanted to say my deepest condolences to you and your family, May the good Lord bring you peace.


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