Obituary: Couple married for 76 years who died six months apart

Dream home: Alexander and Ruby Murray outside their home of more than 50 years, side-by-side with their wedding photo

Dream home: Alexander and Ruby Murray outside their home of more than 50 years, side-by-side with their wedding photo - Credit: Supplied by family

The family of a couple who died just six months apart after being married for more than 76 years has paid tribute to their matriarch. 

It comes following the death of 100-year-old Ruby Murray, the wife of Norwich City Council bricklayer Alexander Murray. 

Together, the couple became the epitome of grandparenting and leave behind a lifetime of memories. 

Ruby Edith Martin was born on April 3, 1922, at Emmas Way in Little Plumstead, near Norwich.  

She was the only daughter of Alexander Martin, a mechanic and chauffeur, and Alice Martin. With her three brothers – Cyril, Alan, and Tony – the family lived in Little Bethel Street in the city centre. 

They enjoyed a happy childhood playing for hours in their back garden, which is now Chapelfield Gardens.

Wartime sweethearts: Alexander Murray first met Ruby during the Second World War

Wartime sweethearts: Alexander Murray first met Ruby during the Second World War - Credit: Supplied by family

After completing her education at Blyth High School, she joined the Women's Royal Air Force aged 17 following the outbreak of the Second World War.  

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Mrs Murray recalled this time of her life with clarity, sharing details of being in air raid shelters when Norwich was being bombed. 

While working as a radar operator she met her husband-to-be, Alexander Cameron Murray, who was a serving Scottish air force worker.

The perfect day: Alexander and Ruby Murray on their wedding day July 11, 1945

The perfect day: Alexander and Ruby Murray on their wedding day July 11, 1945 - Credit: Supplied by family

The couple married on July 11, 1945 and went on to have a son, Gavin Cameron Murray. Shortly after their wedding, they bought their "pride and joy" house on Northcote Road. 

Here, Mr Murray worked as a bricklayer for the city council, while Mrs Murray became a secretary at a local furniture shop. 

Diligently saving, they were able to buy a car and were the first on their road to have a motor vehicle.

The happy couple: Alexander and Ruby Murray were married for more than 76 years

The happy couple: Alexander and Ruby Murray were married for more than 76 years - Credit: Supplied by family

As parents, they enjoyed many Sunday trips to Winterton, Walcott and Bacton, and went on a family package holiday to Spain. 

Following their son’s move to London to go to university in 1970, the couple moved into a newly built bungalow in Little Plumstead. It was one of the first and founding houses on the street. 

In 1989, their son and his family – wife Margaret and their children – moved to Bungay in Suffolk to be closer to them.

A milestone: Ruby Murray surrounded by flowers on her 100th birthday

A milestone: Ruby Murray surrounded by flowers on her 100th birthday - Credit: Supplied by family

Being retired and in their 80s, they embraced their role as doting grandparents and enjoyed this time in their life. It provided them with a whole new wave of “energy, optimism, youthfulness and a new sense of purpose” grandson Alexander explained. 

He said: “Our grandparents were an invaluable relationship for us, since they had so many stories, experiences, and learnings from their own lives to share with us. Such that we could learn, grow and become ever wise.  

“There were times that perhaps we would listen to the words of our grandparents, even when we wouldn’t listen to those of our parents, teachers, or other adults around us - with granny forming a pretty mighty matriarch of the Murray family. 

“It was a relationship based on love, appreciation, fun and pure joy.” 

Celebration cake: Ruby Murray holding a special cake to mark her 100th birthday

Celebration cake: Ruby Murray holding a special cake to mark her 100th birthday - Credit: Supplied by family

Granddaughter Joanne Wardle added: “It is impossible to separate granny from grandad in our minds, since the two of them quite literally came as one for us. 

“Whilst grandad was a man of fewer words than granny, his presence was reassuring and he was always by her side. A strong man, of mind and body, made him quite the heroic figure for us – the grandad who could brave the coastal waves with you, and provide protection.  

“With a subtle sense of humour, he was always able to provide jokes that would be sure to entertain us, whilst providing unlimited patience and support.”

Mrs Murray was also described as an expert jam maker and would use her husband’s homegrown berries from the allotment to make jarfuls. The couple were also avid Norwich City Football Club supporters.

A final goodbye: A floral tribute to Ruby Murray, and her husband, at her funeral

A final goodbye: A floral tribute to Ruby Murray, and her husband, at her funeral - Credit: Supplied by family

Mr Murray died at home on October 5, 2021, aged 97. 

Mrs Murray died on Easter Sunday, April 17, 2022, at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Her funeral took place on May 10 at St Gervaise and St Protase Church in Little Plumstead. Donations were collected for the Royal British Legion. 

As well as their son, they leave behind daughter-in-law Margaret, grandchildren Joanne, Alexander, Dominic and James, and great-grandchildren Lily-Rose and Harry Wardle.