Sunrise: March 17, 1934 -- Sunset: July 16, 2020
Margaret Murray, eighty-six years of age, transitioned into eternal life on July 16, 2020, at Avoyelles Hospital after her ten-day battle with COVID-19.
Margaret was born on March 17, 1934, in Mansura, Louisiana, to Wallace and Berda Dupas. She was the seventh of thirteen children, and effortlessly became her mother’s, Momma Bird, kitchen helper. With a keen ability to easily grasp understanding in the kitchen, Margaret first learned on a wood-fire stove how to transform farm grown cattle, hogs, chickens, venison, gator meat, rabbit, turtle, frog legs, duck, and other wild animals into gourmet feasts fit for kings. Her life was the epitome of all-natural, organic, clean eating and living that is in high fashion today.
Margaret met and later wed the love of her life, Jerome Walker Murray Sr., also known as Boonie, on July 21, 1951. Together, Grete and Boonie raised eleven children. Their first home was located on the Cocoville Highway. However, in 1973, Boonie and Grete moved to their home on Prairie Heights Lane with her sister, Josephine, and family living next door. Margaret and Jerome celebrated 68 years of marriage, displaying their unwavering belief in their commitment to one another and above all—their commitment to God.
Margaret believed in being punctual. In fact, she never needed an alarm clock because she said, “God wakes me up every morning, and I have never been late.” July 21, 2020 would have marked Grete’s 69th wedding anniversary with her beloved Boonie. In keeping with tradition, she was not late, as God allowed her arrival into heaven to join her beloved husband before their celebratory date.
Margaret’s husband raised the hogs, planted the crop, fished, and hunted, as Grete tended to her chickens and most importantly, tended to her children. Margaret’s fame as a renowned chef, confectioner, and bread maker quickly spread throughout her hometown of Mansura, as she could appease any appetite at any hour of the day. She did not believe in turning away hungry a man, woman, or child: she always fed them.
She was not a person to hold onto things. Margaret, lovingly called Ma’mee by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, loved to share. This was evident in how she cooked and fed her family and friends. Ma’mee would ship cookies to Iraq for her grandsons, bake cakes for fairs, bake cakes to sell and give away during holidays, and she even garnered Melissa, her youngest daughter, a blue ribbon for having the most delectable cake. Without fail, every Sunday there was a dessert to be found on her table, and nearly every morning before sunrise, she would shuffle (without rushing) in her kitchen to knead and fry her famous Lundybuff.
An evening ritual for Margaret was to gather her children to kneel around the bed for prayers. Everything she received in this life, she prayed and the Lord provided in His time. She was a woman who knew how to savor every moment much like those who savored her delectable home cooked meals and sweet treats. She cooked well with steadfast assurance in her gift given by God to bless those whom she loved most: her children, her husband, extended family members, and her community at large.
Margaret provided domestic assistance to several households, which needed her expertise. She worked as a Nurse’s Assistant at Valley View Nursing Home for 30 years, and faithfully attended Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church for 68 years. She had the pleasure of traveling from Louisiana to Alaska and various other locations throughout the United States to visit her children and grandchildren. After her years of service to others, her final days were spent living like a queen in luxury at the Oakmont Estates assisted living facility. She loved her spacious room that boasted of a sitting room, bathroom, and spacious bedroom. Margaret no longer had to worry about cleaning or even sweetening her coffee—it was done for her. Andrew, her son, lovingly hung her treasured 8x10 graduation photographs of all eleven children on the left wall, like it was done at home.
Margaret was proceeded in death by her husband, Jerome Walker Murray Sr.; daughter, Brenda Metz (Mike); father, Wallace Dupas; mother, Berda (Sampson) Dupas; sister, Josephine Batiste; brother, John Adam Dupas; sister, Mary Jane Dupas; brother, Augustine Dupas; sister, Mary Clara Pembric; brother, Andrew Wilson Dupas; sister, Theresa Margie Linden; and brother, Robert Dupas Sr. She is survived by her sister, Madeline White; sister, Rosalie D. Chark; sister, Bernice Dupas; sister, Mary Ruth Prier; sister-in-law, Barbara Jackson; sons, Jerome Murray Jr. (Deloris), Bernard Murray (Marshell), George Murray, Andrew Murray (Stephanie), and Ronald Murray (Tritonya); daughters, Cheryl Nicholas (Larry), Diane Murray, Linda Newman (Don), Cindy Murray, and Melissa Zenon (Willie), 24 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren. All of these she loved deeply, which was evident by the generous hospitality that Grete afforded each time her and Boonie’s door opened or their doorbell rang.
Entombment for Margaret (Dupas) Murray will be 11:00am, Friday, July 24, 2020, at St. Paul Mausoleum.
*Please be advised that The City of Mansura has limited the number of people gathering during COVID-19 to no more than 50. It is extremely important that individuals wear masks and practice social distancing. For the health and safety of those attending, the family will respect these rules and regulations.
Funeral Arrangements are under the directions of Escude Funeral Home
~Remembering Grete’s Kitchen~
I will always remember our Momma’s kitchen: the stove in the corner, wood country cupboards framing the walls with the well-used sink and a small window framed by a valance to see out to the backyard. All this flowing in an “L” shape. Following, is the glass sliding door to provide a clear view of Daddy’s ole’ tree, the chicken coop, and the prized hog pen that could hold some thirty piglets, sows, and a brutish boar in the distance. And if you crank your neck to the right, you can see the wild plum trees growing along the fence dividing the property from Aunt Josephine’s house. Turning your head to the left, you could see the watermelon patch, which are all gone, now. Standing in the corner of the opposite side of the kitchen is a tall wooden trash bin with a heavy lid that hinges open and claps down shut—don’t get your fingers caught! Between it and the main kitchen is Momma’s modestly sturdy table that was surrounded by even sturdier chairs. How many have sat at this table? None of us can count. The refrigerator is like a pillar holding up the ceiling, closely situated near the table and far opposite the kitchen sink against a wall, which is about two arms-length wide. This wall and refrigerator placement provide an opening for entering and exiting on either side. This is Momma’s kitchen.
As I think back to when I was a young girl around twelve years old watching, asking, and learning from momma how to cook—that was the best time. I enjoyed being with her in the kitchen. I know many did. As I grew up and left home, visiting to cook, bake, clean, and help Momma with whatever task that needed to be done, became a tradition for us. The holidays were the best times! Momma and I would stay up all night cooking and baking. Those times together, I will always cherish. Momma’s cooking was a trademark for the family but extended out to many other friends and their families. A few of the main dishes that everyone knew my Momma for was her famous: Okra Gumbo, Turtle Stew, Red Beans and Rice, Spaghetti, Yard Fried Chicken, and Dirty Rice, etc.
Grete’s sweets included: coconut cake, lemon pie, chocolate cake, pineapple/coconut cake, ginger bread (a favorite of her grandkids), sweet potato pie, blackberry cobbler, banana pudding, but the famous cake that everyone fancied and would sometimes fight over was her pineapple cake.
From now on when I cook in the kitchen, I know Momma’s spirit will always be with me because she has made me who I am in the kitchen, passing down all her knowledge and wisdom. In keeping with her generous spirit, I will now pass one of her famous recipes down to you. I hope you pass it down through the family and enjoy the tradition of Momma’s famous Lundybuff.
Momma would take a pack of Fleishman Yeast
Shuffling in the kitchen, she would add:
3 cups of warm water
6-7 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 stick of butter
3 tablespoons of sugar
2 big bowls
Melt your butter in a big bowl, active your yeast in ½ cup of lukewarm water, add 2 ½ cups of lukewarm water, salt, and sugar together. Mix the ingredients in the big bowl.
Mix the flour into the liquid mixture (you may not need all 7 cups of flour) dough should be slightly firm but not too sticky.
Knead the dough in the first bowl, grease the second bowl with vegetable oil, transfer the dough to the second (greased) bowl, and cover with a dry dish towel for 30 minutes to allow it to rise.
After thirty minutes, punch it, knead it, cover it, let it rise for 30 more minutes, and repeat this process for a third time.
Put cooking oil in a skillet, once the oil is hot, break off a piece of the dough and sort of stretch and flatten out the dough with oiled hands and drop in the hot cooking oil. Let the dough cook golden brown on both sides for about 1 minute or so. Then, put on a plate covered with paper towels or parchment paper to drain and add your toppings (powdered sugar, syrup, or honey!). Finally, enjoy!!