YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Bishop George Murry died last week after several battles with leukemia. On Thursday, calling hours and a public prayer were held at St. Columba Cathedral in Youngstown.
“He was a good guy,” said Elida Schiavone, of Poland. “I think he did a lot of good here. Just a sweet guy, I think he was just a sweetheart so I wanted to be here and see him.”
“We just wanted to come pay our respects and let him know, again, how much we love him,” said Maureen Hall, of Girard.
“He’s going to be sadly missed,” said Richard Zebrowsky, Jr., of Campbell.
Since coming to the Valley in 2007, the former head of the Youngstown Catholic Diocese was known to spread love and light throughout the community.
As many people came to St. Columba Cathedral to pay their final respects, they shared their favorite moments and memories.
“He always said hi to you and ‘how you doing,’ and always welcomed you with open arms,” said Candy Zebrowsky, of Campbell.
A couple from Poland actually had a chance meeting with the bishop at St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands while on vacation — two years before he would come to Youngstown.
“We attended Mass in a carport that was bedecked with beautiful flowers and the priest arrives in a boat,” Stephanie Rosselli said.
It was Bishop Murry. A memory the Rossellis won’t soon forget. They said he never did either.
“He was just always receptive and seemed to remember us every time we met, which was very special of him,” Rosselli said. “I appreciate we were able to pay our respects.”
A friend to anyone who crossed his path, Bill Howe — master of the Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree — said so many things made Bishop Murry special.
Murry was a fellow knight.
“His personality, his love of the church, his dedication to the church and his willingness to be a friend,” Howe said.
Guy Sebastian reflected on a time the bishop spoke to a group of men at Ohio Valley Teen Challenge. The interaction moved Sebastian and many others, both spiritually and emotionally.
“He was the kind of teacher that would welcome any type of question, whether you were a believer or not in a higher power. He was an excellent teacher,” Sebastian said.
During Thursday’s prayer service, songs of praise could be heard inside and outside of St. Columba, lifting Murry’s legacy and the love he had for so many — a love the community shared right back.
“He was always smiling, always,” Schiavone said. “Every picture I saw, he was smiling and happy. He was just a big inspiration for me.”
A private Mass will take place at 1 p.m. Friday at St. Columba Cathedral. Burial will take place at Calvary Cemetery in Youngstown.
WKBN 27 First News will broadcast a special report, “Remembering Bishop Murry,” on channel 27 at 12:30 p.m. and provide live coverage until the conclusion of the Mass. All coverage will be live streamed simultaneously on WKBN’s mobile app and WKBN.com. Coverage will also be archived online and available for viewing later.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Cathedral of St. Columba, 159 W. Rayen Avenue, Youngstown, Ohio 44503.