Dr. Margaret Lynne Murchison

Published 11:09 am Friday, June 5, 2020

Dr. Margaret Lynne Murchison, 73, passed away, Monday, June 1, 2020, at Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi in Oxford, A visitation was held Friday, June 5, 2020, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Coleman Funeral Home. A Funeral Service will be held Saturday, June 6, 2020, at 11 a.m. in the Pavilion at Garden of Memories Cemetery in Oxford. Interment will be held in the Oxford City Cemetery immediately following the service. Coleman Funeral Home of Oxford is in charge of arrangements.

Dr. Murchison was born July 11, 1946, in Sikeston, Mo., to Dan Murchison and Margaret Giles Murchison. She graduated from Union University in 1968 with a degree in English and history. She then attended the University of Mississippi, receiving her M.A. in 1970 and PhD in 1978. Falling in love with Oxford, she took a job at Oxford High School in 1975 as the junior/senior advanced placement English teacher and chair of the English department. She held that position for 25 years and was named STAR teacher nine times.

In 1980, the University of Mississippi hired her to establish a program for gifted high school students, and in 2000 she moved to the university full-time, serving as associate director of summer school, director of pre-college programs, and director of credit programs. During that time, she added new programs that contributed significantly to the university’s recruitment of the best and brightest students in the state and region. Those programs included Project PACE, summer college for high school students, Lott Leadership Institute, Summer Academy, the Independent Study High School, and numerous academic competitions.

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In 2013, she was promoted to assistant provost for regional education, managing the four regional campuses of the University of Mississippi. She also developed the university’s Japanese Saturday School in 2008. Upon her retirement in June 2015, a scholarship was established in her name.

Teaching was not her career; it was her calling and her mission field. Dr. Murchison has established scholarships in the name of her siblings and made significant donations to higher education in their honor. While education was very important to her, she also cared deeply for each person she taught.

As their aunt and great aunt, her family loved her dearly. Her love for them extended two generations down as she attended all types of events for her great nieces and nephews. They were the beneficiary of lots of free tutoring, sometimes so subtly that they didn’t even recognize it as lessons. She played cards with the great nephews, enjoyed writing with the great nieces, and traveled to Alaska and Europe with her brotherinlaw and sisterinlaw after her siblings passed away. The great nieces and nephews enjoyed spending a week at a time with her, with each noting that there was no such thing as a “quick trip” with Aunt Lynne because of the innumerable friends and former students with whom Aunt Lynne always had time to show off her family and catch up with the student.  

Holidays with family were a real highlight for her. Each Christmas she spent two weeks traveling from place to place to be sure she could celebrate the holidays with the entire family. As much as her family loved her, they enjoyed “getting under her skin” by using poor grammar in front of her and creating impossible sentences for her to diagram, which usually was followed by Lynne smiling and shaking her head, followed by a brief teaching moment.

Her family describes her as a confidante, a great listener, loving, supportive, and brilliant. She loved the Lord and was a true prayer warrior. Her students were her joy. She loved Shakespeare and had memorized lots of literature. Dr. Murchison’s love for children went far beyond her family and her students. She crocheted baby blankets for lots of friends, and her greatest passion might well have been for Operation Christmas Child. She also loved her Covenant Church family.

Dr. Murchison is survived by a host of nieces and nephews who adored her, Daniel Thomas Murchison, Jr., Timothy Glenn Murchison, William Tyler Murchison, Amie Kirby Ramsey, James Matthew Kirby, Daniel Andrew Kirby; as well as her sister-in-law, Vicki Dillow Murchison; and brother-in-law, James Lynn Kirby. She is also survived by 8 great nieces and 8 great nephews. Dr. Murchison was preceded in death by both her parents, Dan and Margaret Murchison; her brother, Daniel Thomas Murchison, Sr.; and her sister, Judith Murchison Kirby.

Three things will last forever-faith, hope, and love-and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

Donations and memorials may be made to Operation Christmas Child (samaritanspurse.org), to the Dr. M. Lynne Murchison Scholarship Fund (P.O. Box 249, University, MS 38677), or to the Tom Murchison Endowed Scholarship Fund (https://give.evertrue.com/unionuniversity/tom-murchison-scholarship).