Community leader, political activist David McMurry dies Monday

    McMurry, Councilmember Nancy Vanreece, and former Mayor Megan Barry in an untitled photo. (Photo: Facebook)
    McMurry, Councilmember Nancy Vanreece, and former Mayor Megan Barry in an untitled photo. (Photo: Facebook)

    David McMurry, a member of the Metropolitan Nashville Convention Center Authority and former candidate for Metro Council, was found dead in his condominium Monday. 

    News of McMurry’s death spread rapidly via social media channels Monday night. 

    Russ Bradford, council member for District 13, said Metro Police were called for a wellness check on McMurry when friends couldn’t reach him. McMurry apparently died of natural causes. 

     “I met David during the 2019 Metro Council campaign and he lit up a room. He was positive energy in a room. Madison and the city have lost a wonderful person,” said Bradford said Tuesday. 

    For years before running for office in 2019, McMurry was engaged in his Madison community and a well-known LGBTQ activist. He served on the boards of the Human Rights Campaign, Nashville Pride and Historic Nashville, among other organizations. 

    He had also served as president of the Madison-Rivergate Chamber of Commerce and on the board of the Nashville LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce.

    Rep. Bill Beck, D-Nashville, Metro Councilmember Nancy VanReece, McMurry, Sen. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville and U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper. (Photo courtesy of Nancy VanReece)
    Rep. Bill Beck, D-Nashville, Metro Councilmember Nancy VanReece, McMurry, Sen. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville and U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper. (Photo courtesy of Nancy VanReece)

    Councilmember Nancy VanReece, District 8, was a good friend of McMurry’s.

    “One of my best friends is gone. I keep returning to the Maya Angelou quote: ‘They will always remember how you made them feel.’ David made bridges out of love and kindness. If there was help needed, he was always the first to respond,” said VanReece. “He was always fully present, in the way we all try to be fully present.”

    VanReece said Madison’s renaissance would have been impossible without him.

    “He changed the world for so many,” she said.

    Tributes poured in on Facebook. 

    Former Mayor Megan Barry:  “He was a force and truly made a difference in the life of everyone he met. He cared deeply about community and service and everything he did exemplified that. I will miss you, dear friend.”

    Human Rights Campaign Nashville: “The HRC Nashville Steering Committee is mourning the loss of David McMurry. He joined our committee shortly after his run for City Council in 2019. His leadership to launch the inaugural Beers 4 Equality event at East Nashville Beer Works and his support of the Nashville Equality Dinner were vital to HRC’s success within the community. He was a beloved member and always brought a smile to every committee meeting. His energy was vivacious and his kindness knew no bounds. His love and humility will be something the committee will always cherish, and we will always remember his dedication to the Nashville community. “

    Former Metro Councilmember Anthony Davis: “Thinking of my dear friend David McMurry. David was an absolute gem of a person. One of the most bright and positive people you would ever meet.”

    A native of Tupelo, Miss., McMurry had lived in Nashville for a number of years. He was employed by the Freeman Webb Co.

    His last post on Facebook, from Nov. 13,  said, “Whatever you do, add a little kindness to the recipe.”

    There will be a candlelight memorial for McMurry on the lawn at Amqui Station in Madison Saturday, Nov. 21, at 4:30 p.m. Masks and social distancing are required and guests are asked to bring their own chairs or blankets for seating.