Sewanee celebrates the life of Harry McMurrey (C’17)


(left) The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house flying a Texas flag in McMurrey’s honor. Photo by Matt Hembree.

(right) Harry’s portrait from the Sewanee golf team. He was a captain from 2015-2016. Photo courtesy of Sewanee Athletics.

by Tess Steele

Executive Staff

On the evening of April 10, more than 500 students, faculty, and administrators gathered in All Saints’ Chapel for an evening vigil commemorating the life of Harry Bennett McMurrey (C’17). In celebration of a beautiful life that touched many, here is a brief collection of stories, memories, and reflections of Harry from his friends and family.

“Harry was selfless and always someone whom you could lean on. The memories I share with him are times when he is comforting me and being a friend I need, going out of his way to say hello or make me feel included, cheering me on to stay on stage when people are trying to get me off,” said Gracie Black (C’17), a close friend of Harry’s. “He was always the person to lighten the mood, and he was just an all-around wonderful friend and made the ones he knew feel cared for, even those that didn’t know him that well.”

Alex Wedding (C’17), who played golf with Harry, commented, “Harry could tell stories unlike anyone I’ve ever met. When he’d start telling them everyone in the room would stop to listen to them and by the end feel like they were there and experienced it themselves. I think storytelling is a great way to remember him.”

Wedding continued, “He had an ability to interact with people, both for the first time or old friends, making them feel like they were the most important person in the room and that he truly cared about them and what they were saying. His ability to speak with people was a gift that I have never seen anyone else rival.”

Another teammate of Harry’s, Taylor Mottern (C’18), said, “When I was a freshman at Sewanee, Harry was there to take me under his wing and guide me on the golf course and in life. I admire his leadership and I will always look up to Harry.”

“We all just wanted everyone to really know how much Harry loved Sewanee and how much he loved the people at Sewanee, it was such a special place to him,” the McMurrey family commented. “Harry was kind and funny and made everyone feel so loved and so significant. He truly was a one-of-a-kind man.”