Skip to content

Bernardine Murray, 83, wife of the Rev. Cecil Murray, passes


Funeral services will be held Friday at 10 a.m. at First A.M.E. Church of Los Angeles for Lois Bernardine Murray, wife of former FAME pastor the Rev. Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray.

She died April 27 from complications of a stroke. Murray was 83.

Entombment will take place at Inglewood Park Cemetery, 720 E. Florence Ave., Inglewood, and the repast will follow at the church, 2270 S. Harvard Blvd., Los Angeles.

Murray, affectionately known around the A.M.E. denomination as “Aunt Dino,” grew up in the church. Her father Sylvester A. Cousin was a pastor and her husband’s childhood minister. Her brother, Philip R. Cousin Sr. (retired) became an A.M.E. bishop. His five sons are all ministers as is their cousin, Drew, son of Cecil and Bernardine. Philip will deliver the eulogy.

The Murrays were high school sweethearts and went to the senior prom together. They met in West Palm Beach, Fla., when Cousin moved there with her family as a 10th-grader. They married in 1958, seven years after Bernardine graduated from college with double degrees in sociology and education.

Afterward, she spent seven years teaching elementary schools in West Palm Beach.

At that time, Cecil–Chip is a nickname given to him by his wife–was finishing his seventh year in flying service with the United States Air Force. Three years later, the couple found themselves at Claremont College in California, where Cecil attended seminary at the school of theology, finishing up his doctorate, and Bernardine worked in the office of the president.

After graduating Claremont, Cecil began his church ministry with a nine-member congregation at Primm A.M.E. in Pomona. Next, the couple was assigned to Kansas City, Kan., and then five years later moved to First A.M.E. Church in Seattle, Wash.

As her husband developed as a pastor, Bernardine developed her own ministry and leadership roles.

Among the things she accomplished were starting Head Start programs; establishing food, clothing and housing services for the poor; and then, after the family was assigned to FAME in Los Angeles, creating mentoring, tutoring and scholarship programs for youth.

Additionally, at FAME, Bernardine developed an AIDS ministry and took volunteers down to Skid Row to serve meals to the homeless. She also led her missionary unit to sponsor fundraisers to send glasses, clothing, books and medicine to Africa.

Described as passionate with a generous heart, Bernardine was so dedicated to her work that A.M.E. missionaries started a school in Africa that bears her name.

Bernardine Murray is survived by a host of friends and relatives including her husband, Chip; son, Drew; brother, Philip Robert and his wife M. Joan Cousin; brother and sister-in-law, Edward and Mary Murray; sister in law, Louise M. Bowman; nieces, Tammie Murray and April Thomas; nephews, Terry Shawn (and wife Carmen); Gary Dean; Philip Cousin (and wife Angela); Steven Cousin (and wife Linda); David Cousin (and wife Valerie); Michael Cousin (and wife Marcy); Joseph Cousin (and wife Nicole); Anthony Murray (and wife Lisette); and Kevin Murray.