Dr. Joseph E. Murray, Nobel Prize Recipient, Milford Native, Dies at 93.
Dr. Joseph E. Murray, who was born and raised in Milford and went on to become an internationally renowned surgeon, died Monday.
Dr. Joseph E. Murray, who grew up in Milford and went on to become an accomplished surgeon who was part of the team that performed the first human organ transplant, died Monday at a Boston hospital.
He grew up in Milford, the youngest of three children, and the son of a school teacher and a District Court judge. The family lived initially in a house on Cedar Street at Genoa Avenue, then moved to Grant Street, said his nephew, Brian Murray, an attorney and the chairman of the Milford Board of Selectmen.
Although he was internationally esteemed for his work in transplant surgery, Dr. Murray was down-to-Earth.
"He was the most humble, most self-effacing, unassuming person you'd ever want to meet," Murray said. "He had tremendous wisdom and insight into all kinds of things."
Dr. Murray graduated with the Class of 1936 at Milford High School and went on to the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, before obtaining his medical degree at Harvard Medical School.
According to an obituary in the New York Times, Dr. Murray's career was primarily in reconstructive surgery, but he was best known, and recognized, for his role as one of the surgeons who in 1954 successfully transplanted a kidney from one man to his identical twin brother.
At the time, he was in his mid-30s, said Brian Murray, who remembered his uncle as a very modest, self-effacing man. His uncle was reluctant, for example, to have a plaque erected at the Milford line, near Milford Regional Medical Center, recognizing his career and accomplishment in the Nobel Prize. He relented when the committee erecting the sign agreed to include the names of his parents.
In 1997, the town held "Dr. Joseph Murray Day" at Milford High School, dedicating the science wing to the town's most notable surgeon. A large portrait of Murray and a plaque noting his Nobel Prize in Medicine are in the main lobby of the building.
Dr. Murray was retired as chief of plastic surgery at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital in Boston, and was a professor of surgery (emeritus) at Harvard Medical School, according to an obituary published on the George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home website.
Dr. Murray had lived in Wellesley for many years, and he also had a house on Chappaquiddick Island, on Martha's Vineyard, where he and his family spent the summer months. He and his wife had six children, Murray said.
Visiting hours for Dr. Murray will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home, 477 Washington St. (Rt.16) in Wellesley. Funeral Mass in St. Paul Church, 502 Washington St., Wellesley, will be at 11 a.m. Saturday. Interment will be in Edgartown Cemetery on Martha’s Vineyard at 1:30 p.m. Monday.