Board Oks Naming Building in Murray's Honor

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Board Oks Naming Building in Murray's Honor

Prince Frederick, MD - 4/18/2012

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By Marty Madden

The arts building at Annmarie Garden will be named in honor of the late John Dennis “Denny” Murray. The Calvert County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday, April 17 to memorialize the builder and activist, who died earlier this year.

The commissioners’ decision was in response to requests from the board of directors of the Koenig Private Foundation and Murray’s family.

For several years, Denny Murray was president of a home construction business in Owings and was well known throughout Calvert County for his generosity and community involvement. He later moved to California but family members indicated in a letter to the county commissioners that Murray would frequently visit Calvert County. “Denny always made it a point to visit the garden after he moved to California, stopping by once a year while visiting family in the county,” family members stated in the letter, dated March 15.

“Mr. Murray was instrumental in the development of the Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center,” stated Department of General Services Director Wilson Freeland in a memo to the commissioners. “Mr. Murray donated an incredible amount of time and resources to see the vision of Annmarie Garden become reality.”

The foundation, named for the couple—Francis and Anne Marie Koenig— who conveyed the land on Dowell Road, Solomons to the county for a sculpture garden, concurred with the family’s request. “There is consensus in posthumously recognizing Mr. Murray for his contributions to Annmarie Garden by naming the arts building in his memory,” Freeland stated.

In the family’s letter it was noted Murray was the original director/chairman of Annmarie Garden, which opened in 1994. “As with every project he undertook, Denny used his vast resources and strong work ethic to achieve the goal to open Annmarie Garden,” the letter stated. His work included oversight of the pathway installation, construction of the facility’s buildings and the installation of the garden’s iconic Oyster Tonger iron sculpture.

The family stated Murray “contributed his own finances to facilitate many of the things we enjoy in the garden today. He did so anonymously and without fanfare.”

Annmarie Garden is the venue for several annual events that attract huge crowds to Calvert—Artsfest, Halloween in the Garden and the Christmas Season’s Garden in Lights. Later this month, the annual Calvert County Green Expo will be held at Annmarie Garden.

“It’s a very fitting tribute to Denny Murray,” said Commissioners’ President Gerald W. “Jerry” Clark [R].

In 2008, a decision by Ann’s Circle, the garden’s volunteer stewardship organization, to name the arts building in honor of Murray was quietly vetoed by the county commissioners, who cited a policy of not naming buildings after people.

Contact Marty Madden at

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