Yesterday, many of us learned on social media that David McMurry, community leader and organizer, diligent volunteer for the causes he supported, and good friend to many in the Nashville, had passed away. In his professional life, McMurry was a marketing and media strategist, most recently serving as the marketing director at Freeman Webb, Inc., but most of LGBTQ Nashville will know him through his work developing the business community and supporting other LGBTQ causes, and running for city office as he always worked to make Nashville a better place.
In recent years, McMurry served on the Board of the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce (2015-2018), serving as a board member, programs committee chair, and volunteer committee chair. David, the Chamber’s statement from CEO Joe Woolley, “was a smiling and welcoming face when you entered the event, never forgetting your name after he met you and having your nametag ready for you. He would then work the room talking to all guests and connecting people to each other.”
The Nashville LGBT Chamber has also been collecting thoughts and comments from members who were close to David on their website.
He was a major figure in Madison life and business, serving on the Board, and as Board President, of the Madison-Rivergate Area Chamber of Commerce (2011-2018). He also briefly served as an Ambassador for the Hendersonville Area Chamber of Commerce. He was also on the committee of the Madison Goodlettsville Rotary (2014-2016). For the last two years, he has also worked with Neighbor 2 Neighbor, which works throughout Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County to preserve and improve neighborhoods.
Nancy VanReece, who represents District 8, which includes Madison, on the Metro Nashville Council, was close with McMurry, and she said “Madison’s Renaissance would have been impossible without [David McMurry].”
On a personal level, VanReece said, “One of my best friends is gone. I keep returning to the Maya Angelou quote; ‘they will always remember how you made them feel’. David made bridges out of love and kindness. If there was help needed – he was always the first to respond.”
She also recalled a moment when she first ran for Metro Council: “Back in 2011 when I was first going to run for office, my campaign manager did some research and found David. She said, you should first make sure he isn’t going to run against you. Madison loves him so much. He was always fully present, in the way we all try to be fully present.”
In the LGBTQ community, in addition to his work with the LGBTQ Chamber, McMurry was currently serving on the Board of Nashville Pride. He has also been a constant presence, volunteering with other community organizations.
The Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) was just one of the many organizations David supported with his time and energy. “David volunteered many times with TEP,” said Chris Sanders, the organization’s executive director. “He helped organize our ice cream social and worked with us on voter registration drives. He reached out several times a year to find out how he could be supportive, and I’m sure hundreds of people had the same experience with him.”
McMurry also recently joined the HRC Nashville Steering Committee, which wrote, “The HRC Nashville Steering Committee is mourning the loss of David McMurry. He joined our committee shortly after his run for City Council in 2019. His leadership to launch the inaugural Beers 4 Equality event at East Nashville Beer Works and his support of the Nashville Equality Dinner were vital to HRC’s success within the community. He was a beloved member and always brought a smile to every committee meeting. His energy was vivacious and his kindness knew no bounds. His love and humility will be something the committee will always cherish, and we will always remember his dedication to the Nashville community.”
By this afternoon, Facebook posts honoring David McMurry number in the hundreds, reflecting the great impact McMurry had on those he encountered. McMurry’s friend Frank Hundley said, “There’s a political trope that goes, “People won’t remember what you say, they’ll remember how you made them feel,” and I never left an interaction with David McMurray without feeling better about myself and better about the city of Nashville because David was a part of it.”
“In a world that can be so unkind, David’s kindness was an irrepressible force,” Hundley added. “In a world that is driven by self-interest, David was driven by a servant’s heart. In the face of pessimism, David was an eternal optimist. David saw the best in people, I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone, and he gave of himself relentlessly. He was too good be true and too good for this world and his loss leaves a void in our city that can never be filled.”
On Saturday, November 21, at 4:30 p.m. a candle light memorial will be held for David McMurry on the lawn at Amqui Station. Masks and social distancing are required. Bring your own chair of blanket to sit. A fund in McMurry’s honor has been set up by Neighbor 2 Neighbor.