Obituaries

Murray Jack Stern, 98, of Middlebury

MURRAY JACK STERN

MIDDLEBURY — Murray Jack Stern, 98, passed away peacefully at EastView at Middlebury in Middlebury, Vt., on Sunday, April 11, 2021. Born on Manhattan’s lower east side on Jan. 5, 1923, he was the third child of Ben and Dora (Greenberg) Stern, immigrants from the Carpathian mountains of Czechoslovakia and Hungary. They gave him the Hebrew name Moishe Jacob, later Anglicized. Along with his older sisters Gertrude and Beatrice and younger brother Arthur, the family moved to the South Bronx near the Grand Concourse. Murray worked at the family laundry business throughout his school days and attended Stuyvesant High School, an elite public school in the New York City. As news of the Nazi atrocities in Europe spread through New York’s Jewish community, Murray volunteered for the U.S. Air Force at age eighteen, hoping to become a fighter pilot.
He washed out of his final pilot’s test due to airsickness, and was assigned to work in the Air Force’s Psychiatric Department administering personality tests to cadets. A charismatic young man with a gift for comedy, he joined a troupe of Armed Forces performers and toured U.S. military bases entertaining troops with his impressions of FDR and Winston Churchill for the duration of World War Two.
When the war was over Murray was discharged in San Pedro, Calif., and briefly tried his luck as an actor in Hollywood, where he shot some screen tests but felt repelled by the culture there. He returned to New York where he attended New York University on the G.I. Bill. There he became interested in the burgeoning field of Psychoanalysis. He went on to graduate school at NYU, and while earning his Ph.D. in Psychology, met and fell in love with Adele Truitt, a Californian transplant who was studying for her M.S. in Social Work at Columbia University. After completing their professional degrees, the young couple married and eventually moved to Pleasantville, N.Y., where they raised four children, Karen, Melissa, Matthew and Thomas. Murray trained in clinical Psychoanalysis at the William Alanson White Institute in New York City, where he gravitated to the ideas of the institute’s co-founder Erich Fromm. He worked as a Psychoanalyst at the VA Hospital in Montrose, N.Y., and then started his own practice on 86th Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan.
Liberal in his politics, he marched in Washington, D.C., in support of the civil rights movement and against the war in Vietnam. He was present for Martin Luther King’s historic “I Have A Dream” speech. Murray instinctively sided with the underdog, which is why, despite growing up blocks from Yankee Stadium, he rejected the all-powerful Yankees in favor of the Giants, and when the Giants fled New York for San Francisco he picked up the lowly Mets as his new team. When he moved to Vermont in 2010 he rooted for the Red Sox despite some reservations about their sometimes winning ways.
Murray was active in community theater and also enjoyed tennis, skiing, and horseback riding. In 1994 he lost his beloved wife Adele to breast cancer. A year later, on vacation in the Netherlands, he met Anneke Oranje of Amsterdam, who would become his second wife.
A deeply moral man, Murray is fondly remembered as a warm-hearted intellectual and independent thinker who loved ideas, conversation, and most of all his family and many friends. He is preceded in death by siblings Gertrude Schwartz, Beatrice Trager, Arthur Stern and daughter Karen Stern. He is survived by his beloved wife Anneke Oranje, daughter Melissa Lourie of Weybridge (Peter), and sons Matthew Truitt Stern of Waterbury, Vt., and Thomas Jason Stern of Los Angeles, Calif., as well as four grandchildren, Suzanna, Walker, Tuesday Amelia and Murray Patrick. His ashes will be buried at the Middlebury Cemetery.
A joint memorial service for Murray and his recently deceased brother Arthur is planned for September 2021 in Greenwich Connecticut. There will be an informal celebration of Murray’s life locally after his ashes are interred on May 23.◊
 

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