Gail M. Murray

Feb. 27, 1930 - Dec. 3, 2018
Gail M. Murray Feb. 27, 1930 - Dec. 3, 2018

Gail M. Murray, an award-winning breeder of Siamese cats, died of Alzheimer’s disease in Great Barrington, Mass., on Dec. 3. A longtime East Hampton homeowner, she was 88 and had been ill for several years. 

Born on Feb. 27, 1930, in New Rochelle, N.Y., to the former Helen Dodge and Hamilton McInnes, she attended the St. Agnes School in Albany and Edgewood Park College. 

She and Donald F. Murray were married in 1952. The couple lived in Brooklyn and had two daughters, Lynn and Diane. Diane died of cystic fibrosis at the age of 11. 

After moving to Ardsley, N.Y., in 1957, Ms. Murray designated a section of their house for breeding and raising the purebred cats. She was fond of the social aspect of her pastime, her family said, often traveling to compete on the cat-show circuit.

She later lived in Pound Ridge, N.Y., where she started a successful antiques and furniture-restoration business. 

She and her husband, who died in 1989, built a house on Marley Lane in East Hampton in the early 1960s. For 25 years, they celebrated the holidays, summer vacations, and a quiet escape during the off-season there.

In 1983, the couple purchased what was known as the Peanut Cottage in Great Barrington, a historical house that got its nickname from the shells that were used as insulation. They renovated the house and expanded the property, eventually living there in retirement.  

Known as a multitalented, creative person with a gregarious personality, Ms. Murray was a leading member of the Cat Fanciers Association. Her family said she also loved the outdoors, gardening, entertaining, and preparing gourmet meals. 

She is survived by her daughter Lynn Slonaker of Pawling, N.Y., her companion of 10 years, Thomas Ackerman of Great Barrington, and a granddaughter.

The family has suggested memorial contributions to the Alzheimer’s Association, alz.org; the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, cff.org, or the Endeavor Therapeutic Horsemanship, endeavorth.org. Remembrances can be sent to Finnerty and Stevens Funeral Home at finnertyandstevens.com.