Dr. Dorsey E. Murfree, 95, of Salisbury, Maryland, departed this life on Saturday, September 4, 2021, at his residence. Born in Warsaw, North Carolina, he was the son of the late Joshua P. Murfree and Rachel B. Williams Murfree.
“Joe,” as he was lovingly referred to by his siblings, received his early education in Chadbourn, North Carolina, where his father, J.P. Murfree, was Principal. After the death of his father, his mother moved the family back to Warsaw, where he graduated from Douglas High School in 1943. He served in the United States Army from 1943-45, and matriculated at Tuskegee University, formerly Tuskegee Institute, earning his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1952. Prior to retiring in 1986, he was the Supervisor Veterinary Medical Officer, Circuit Supervisor for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food Safety and Inspection Service for Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. Dr. Murfree was known for his no nonsense approach when it came to cleanliness in the various areas he supervised.
He married the former Annie Ruth Chasten in 1953, and to that union was born three sons and one daughter. Early in his career, he worked in private practice at a veterinary hospital in Wichita, Kansas. He began his career in Food Safety Supervision with the USDA in 1954. His position called for appointments in many different areas. He moved his wife and children from North Carolina to Devil’s Lake, North Dakota, Boston, Massachusetts, Belfast, Maine, and finally Salisbury, Maryland. He took pride in being present in his children’s education and extracurricular activities.
“Doc,” as he was referred to by most that knew him, was a faithful member of St. James A.M.E. Zion Church, in Salisbury, since 1965. Doc served as former Chairman of Trustees for more than 30 years, Class Leader, Men’s Day Finance Chair, and Church Representative for Boy Scout Troop 379. He and several of his friends/fellow trustees worked diligently on many different church projects. He was also a member of the Wicomico County Recreation Committee and Wicomico County Historic District Commission. He volunteered with SHORE UP! Inc. Meals on Wheels and was honored as Volunteer of the Year in 2004. Dr. and Mrs. Murfree took great pride in being caretakers for senior citizens that did not always have family to care for them. They provided food, did laundry, bought clothes, managed personal affairs, and oversaw their care, whether in home or nursing facility.
He will be lovingly remembered by: three sons, Jeffery Murfree (Lisa), Bryan E. Murfree, and Cecil K. Murfree I (Brenda); one daughter, Sheila K. Copes (Antonio); seven grandchildren, Jenna A. Stevens (Charles), Cecil K. Murfree II, Colin M. Murfree (Victoria), Dallas Covan Taylor, Jr., Dr. Jessica R. Murfree, Ph.D., Samara K. Copes, and Antonia L. Copes; six great-grandchildren, Paris C. Stevens, Jordan N. Stevens, Rahmir A. Stevens, Samuel L. Stevens, Benjamin H. Murfree, and Sarai B. Stevens; a host of nephews, nieces, cousins, other relatives, and friends.
In addition to his parents and wife, he was also preceded in death by 15 siblings.
Dr. Murfree will lie in repose on Tuesday, September 7, 2021, from 6 to 7 PM at First Baptist Church Family Life & Cultural Center, 528 Booth Street, Salisbury. The funeral service will begin at 7 PM. He will also lie in repose on Saturday, September 11, 2021, from 10 to 11 AM at Rose Hill Funeral Home, 472 Wells Town Road, Rose Hill, NC. The funeral service will begin at 11 AM. Interment will follow at The Murfree Family Cemetery, Warsaw.