On May 23, 2022 at the Annual Meeting at the Locust Hill Country Club a Lima resident received from the Rochester Genesee Valley Funeral Directors Assoc. (also known as the RGVFDA) the prestigious 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award.
The award was given to James L. Murray, funeral director with the Stephenson – Dougherty Funeral Home in Avon and the O’Connell – Dougherty Funeral Home in Lima.
The RGVFDA Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes and acknowledges “an individual who, because of distinguished professional and public service, has made a significant contribution to our community, our profession, and our association.” The nominee does not have to be a licensed funeral director but in this case Mr. Murray is. A member in good standing in the RGVFDA may nominate an individual for the Lifetime Achievement Award. The nomination would summarize in writing the contributions and accomplishments of the individual nominee. The Board of Directors of the RGVFDA then reviews the nominations and determines the worthiness of the nomination and votes for one of the candidates.
Born and raised in Lewiston, NY, Murray attended and graduated from Lewiston – Porter Central Schools. He is a graduate of Niagara County Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Applied Sciences and a graduate of Simmons School of Mortuary Science in 1981. He has been a licensed funeral director since 1982.
Murray is presently the licensed funeral director and manager of O’Connell-Dougherty Funeral Home in Lima and for Stephenson – Dougherty Funeral Home in Avon, NY since 1991. He formerly worked for Miller Funeral Homes, Mattle Funeral Home, and Wattengale Funeral Home in North Tonawanda, NY.
Murray has served as a Board member of the RGVFDA from 1993 to 1995 and has served as Secretary/ Treasurer for the RGVFDA since 1995 till the present. He has served as Secretary for 13 Presidents of the RGVFDA. He has been Secretary of the Oak Ridge Cemetery, Lima, NY Board of Directors since 2014. He is a volunteer for Special Olympics as a mentor and assistant. He is a former Assistant Boy Scout Leader for Lima Boy Scout Troop # 4029 in Lima. He is a former President and member of the Lima Business Council. He is a former President and present member of the Lima Rotary Club since 1992. He is a member and usher at St. Rose Church in Lima.
Murray has also been a volunteer speaker on death and dying for several organizations including SIDS group, MCC Death & Dying course, Masonic and Rotary groups, as well as several other community grief groups.
He is married to Holly (Lewis) Murray and they have two boys Sean Murray and Eric (Amanda) Lewis and two grandchildren Cameron and Adriana Lewis.