Blanche Leona Bailey Murray, age 80, went home to be with Jesus on Sunday, January 8, 2023,
at her home surrounded by her loving family.
Leona was born in Tarpon Springs, Florida on September 1, 1942, as the third child of the late
John Thomas Bailey and Mary Holloway Bailey. She joins her siblings; Odis Lee Bailey, Mary
Elizabeth Bailey, Elosie Bailey, John Thomas Bailey Jr., and Rosalee Bailey Byrd, in heaven,
and leaves behind her youngest brother, Donald Bailey, as well as dear Aunt Liz and many
loved ones in Florida.
Leona married her loving husband, Elbert Rayford “Ray” Murray Sr., October 4, 1958, who
preceded her in death, after 58 beautiful years of marriage. Ray and Leona moved to North
Carolina in 1964, and eventually found their forever home in Wilmington, specifically Middle
Sound, in 1971, where they raised their children and grandchildren until their time on Earth was
complete. Today they are hand in hand, walking the streets of gold, and rejoicing with Jesus.
Leona leaves behind four beautiful children, Betty Sue Murray, Elbert Rayford “Ray” Murray Jr.
(Debra Anderson), Sammy Lee Murray (Tammy), Ricky Wayne Murray, and two adopted
children Rob and Kristy Wilson; 12 grandchildren, Donald Williams (Lizzy), Anderia Watson,
James “Bud” Watson (Becca), Stephen Watson (Erika), Lindsey Murray, Amanda Williams
(David), Melissa Pickett, Josiah Murray (Amber), Whitney Murray, David “Wayne” Murray,
Brittani Bischoff (Cody), Brooke Murray, and Morgan Wilson; and 11 great-grandchildren, Amy
Chambers, Hanna Rae Lewis, William “Will” Watson, Hunter Watson, Rachel Watson, Weston
Dosher, Logan McKee, Bradley Williams, Michael Murray, Mariah Harker, and Jacob Sutton; as
well as her dear family friend, Betty Jo Fowler.
Leona was the most kind-hearted, compassionate, and loving mother, grandmother, and friend
to everyone she came into contact with. She could always be found in one of her favorite
places, a church pew, her kitchen, her flower beds, or on the swing Grandaddy built her,
drinking a cup of coffee. She had made-to-order breakfast ready for her hardworking sons,
grandsons, and their coworkers every morning, for as long as she could. In the kitchen,
Grandma specialized in “fat eggs,” biscuits and gravy, coleslaw, and most importantly fried
chicken. She loved being outdoors, whether it was weeding her flourishing flower beds, watering
her tomato plants, or taking a walk to the mailbox. Leona loved, cared for, and served others
just as Jesus did, and made sure everyone knew how amazing our God is.
In 2012, Leona was diagnosed with Stage III Breast Cancer, enduring a single mastectomy,
chemotherapy, and radiation, eventually entering remission and ultimately becoming
cancer-free! She never once worried about her outcome with cancer and always attributed her
healing to God. She was truly a matriarch, who loved, prayed for, and led her family with
strength, compassion, and faith. Her children and grandchildren remember the many lessons
she taught them around the house, about God, and life in general. Leona left a lasting impact on
every life she touched and will be missed greatly by many.
There will be a Celebration of Life held at 1p.m. at her home, on Saturday, January 21, 2023.
The family will be cooking a pig and ask that everyone bring a covered dish, if able. Any
questions can be directed to Betty Sue Murray, (910) 619-6354.
In lieu of bouquet flowers, the family requests potted plants, which will be planted in Leona’s
flower beds, or for donations to be made to Lower Cape Fear Hospice, as they provided
amazing at-home care
Please share memories and condolence by visiting the “Tribute Wall” below.