Obituary of Graham Peter Murray
Graham died at Toronto, August 29, 2021. In death, as in life, on his own terms.
Only son of William Atkinson Murray (1916-1994) and Marjorie Mary Elliot (1916-1987), born in Enfield, England, July 21, 1943. He embodied his Dad’s sense of fair play and his Mum’s feistiness.
Survived by his sister, Susan Murray of Codrington Hill, London, his wife, Susan Cutler and their son, James Alexander Murray (& Alan the Cat).
He will be much missed by his cousins in England and his in-laws in Canada.
Graham was educated at the Latymer School, England and the London School of Economics (LSE) 1961-1964, graduating with a B.Sc. [Econ] International Relations. At the LSE he was the Editor of The Beaver and President of the Jazz Society. It was in this connection he argued with Mick Jagger over expansion to include blues nights. He taught International Relations at Lehigh University 1964-1966, in Lehigh Pennsylvania, returning to LSE for a continuance of his degree and then to the University of Western Ontario 1968-1975 in London, Ontario to teach International Relations.
Enjoying the politics of academia more than the slog of publishing, he joined the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) as Executive Vice Chair 1975-1978 when a strong provincial advocate was needed for effective lobbying.
He worked as a researcher for the Ontario New Democratic Party Leader’s Office at Queen’s Park 1978-1987 under Stephen Lewis then Michael Cassidy’s leadership. Graham abetted on the “welfare diet” in November, 1982 to demonstrate how limited the food budget of the average person on welfare was.
As a member of the NDP, Graham ran twice provincially in the riding of Eglinton-Lawrence (and managed to recoup the deposit).
Graham found his true calling. As publisher of Inside Queen’s Park 1987-2015, the definitive bi-weekly record of the political workings of Ontario government, Graham was able to combine his writing skills with his in-depth knowledge of how government could or should but inevitably would work.
At the Legislature, he was instrumental in getting Ontario wines and beers available in the Legislative dining room. His work with the Speaker of the House set up the Speaker’s Book Award which recognizes non-fiction works by Ontario authors reflecting the diverse culture and rich history of the province and of its residents.
In 1990 Graham worked with the OSSTF-FEESO political action team on a brilliant campaign over the underfunding of education targeted to key ridings that contributed to the NDP electoral victory.
Graham was a founding member of the Public Affairs Association Canada PAAC and served as President from 1992-1994.
Graham was a man who loved a party, loved long convoluted tales that may or may not have contained outrageous puns, word play or obscure quotes. His store of Ontario provincial election and political trivia was prodigious. An admirer of Samuel Johnson and Winston Churchill, he would have held his own in a battle of wits and temperament with both.
Parkinson’s disease did not win in the end. Graham did -- he died as he had lived, courageously and with an unflinching determination.
Our thanks to the Dotsa Bitove program at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, to our PSWs Fiona and Samantha, to the Staff at St. Michael’s Hospital ICU and Palliative Care Unit.
The family will receive friends at the Humphrey Funeral Home A.W. Miles – Newbigging Chapel, 1403 Bayview Avenue, Toronto on Thursday, September 2nd from 3:00 – 4:00, 4:30 – 5:30 and 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Funeral service to be held at St. James-the-Less Cemetery Chapel, 635 Parliament Street on Friday, September 3rd at 2:00 p.m., with visitation to begin in the chapel at 1:00 p.m. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, attendance at both is limited. Please email your attendance, including the time, to email@example.com.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to TVOntario, B.C. Fire relief or the charity of your choice. Condolences may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.
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