In Memoriam: Rochelle Ann Murray

We were saddened to learn of the passing of longtime Davenport Public Library Children’s Librarian, Miss Rochelle Murray, who died on Sunday, July 31, 2022, at the age of 85.

Rochelle Ann Murray was born December 14, 1936, at Mercy Hospital in Davenport, Scott County, Iowa. She was the only child of Walter Raymond Murray, a truck driver for Mengel’s Meat Market, and Lila Bernice Kroeger, a private duty nurse. The family lived at 522 Cedar Street in the West End of Davenport.

Rochelle attended Hayes School, Frank L. Smart Jr. High School, and graduated from Davenport High School in 1955. She was in the French Club, Spanish Club, Girl’s Glee Club, Band, Student Council, and Semester Honor Roll. She graduated from Marycrest College in 1959 where she majored in Speech and minored in Library Science. She received her Master in Library Science degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1968, after taking Summer classes for 5 years.

Miss Murray started shelving books at the Davenport Public Library when she was 13 years old. She conducted her first puppet play entitled “Meet George and His Friends” on January 13, 1951, when she was just 14 years old. She worked as a Library Page until graduating from college, then was named Young People’s, Film, and Records Librarian in 1959, and was Director of Adult Services in 1964. She became the Children’s Librarian when Mrs. Vira Blankenburg retired in 1965.

She was a founding member of the Davenport Chapter of Kappa Gamma Pi, a national honor society for graduates of Catholic women’s colleges in 1959. Along with local author David R. Collins, she began the Mississippi Valley Children’s Literature Festival and the Midwest Writing Center in 1980. She had a radio program on WOC for 18 years and was the host of the TV show “Conversations with Rochelle,” which ran on the city’s public access TV station.

Miss Rochelle Murray retired from the Davenport Public Library on December 31, 2003. At her retirement party, the Library Board of Trustees named the Rochelle A. Murray Children’s Center in her honor. After retiring she continued to volunteer and organize literary programs and festivals for children and adults in the Quad Cities.

Rochelle’s genuine love for children and reading was evident to anyone who had the pleasure of meeting or working with her. We remember her fondly and will miss her dearly.

(posted by Cristina)

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