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News > Passing of friends > James Murray Wilson (1943S)

James Murray Wilson (1943S)

One of our most senior ODs has gone to rest. MHDSRIP.
James with his father Victor Leddel Murray Wilson in Bitterfontein in 1936. En route to Bishops.
James with his father Victor Leddel Murray Wilson in Bitterfontein in 1936. En route to Bishops.


Class of 1943

We are very grateful to have received the following obituary, written by Ezan the daugher of James Murray Wilson.

WILSON, James Murray (03/01/1927 – 17/08/2023).

James Murray Wilson died peacefully in Diep River, Cape Town on 17 August 2023, aged 96. He was a boarder at Bishops from 1936, matriculating in 1943. He was a prefect in School House. Schooling at Bishops was a family tradition as he followed his father V L M Wilson (1901-1905) and was followed by his son Victor Wilson (1970-1974) (added by Paul Murray - which makes V L M Wilson one of the first ever boarders in School House).

Known as James in his youth, and as Murray after marrying Molly Leipoldt (where there was already a James in the family!), he lived most of his life in Cape Town. He was a family man and a churchman, very committed to Claremont Congregational Church where he was a Life Deacon.

He had a variety of interests and was an involved participant and contributor to many organisations and institutions in the Cape. In his twenties he was an active member of the Mountain Club of South Africa and had an interest in nature conservation. He became a Chartered Accountant and worked as an accountant and an auditor, and as a manager in various auditing firms. His meticulousness and attention to detail, as well as his absolute honesty were fitting in this field. He also provided free financial assistance to several organisations and individuals. His inclination to community service also led him into progressive politics in the late 1960s.

Despite a career with numbers, he also had a life-long interest in words and language. His study of law at one stage led to a love of the Afrikaans language and he became a regular attendant at the Klein Karoo Kunstefees, and an active member of the Liedmakersgilde (The Songmakers’ Guild). His interest in the arts extended into theatre, opera and also film.

He sat on the board of, or chaired, various organisations including the Western Province Blood Transfusion Service. He was an active member of the Cape Anchor Toastmasters Club, and there he honed his public speaking skills. This led to the Owl Club. It was in the brotherhood of Owls that he found a single ‘home’ for his many diverse interest – politics, economics, the arts (and wine) – and he became a lifelong very active and proud member of the Owl Club, serving terms as Secretary Bird and President.

He, and his wife until her passing, found a community of friends at Riverside Place where he spent his last years. Residents there and many other friends recall Murray as a man of honesty and integrity, a ‘true gentleman’, and an interesting conversationalist with a quick wit and gift for repartee. He is survived by two daughters, Ezan and Wendy, who will also miss his sense of humour.


Ezan gave us the opportunity of choosing one of three photographs.  The one we chose is of their Dad as a school boy with his father (Victor Leddel Murray Wilson) in Bitterfontein in 1936 - probably en route to/from school from Kleinzee in Namaqualand. 

There will be a memorial service on Friday 1 September at 2pm, at Claremont Congregational Church. All are welcome.

ODs wanting to contact Ezan or Wendy can get in touch using this email:

Paul Murray the ODA very much enjoyed serving under James Murray Wilson at the Owl Club, when he was the Owl Club President and Paul on the Committee.  He recalls how fondly James Murray Wilson always asked after his school and spoke of his wonderful time at Bishops. 

The ODU extend their condolences to their two surviving daughters, Ezan and Wendy and their families.


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