Norma Jo Murley

October 9, 1947 ~ June 25, 2021 (age 73)



Norma Jo Murley

October 9,1947-June 25, 2021


Norma Jo Murley of Burkesville, Kentucky passed away Friday, June 25, 2021, at her home

having attained the age of 73 years, 8 months and 16 days.


Jo was born October 9, 1947, to the late James Norman & Mary Ruth (Butler) Murley. She was a long-standing and dedicated member of Holy Cross Catholic Church serving as church musician for many years. She was a devoted follower of Jesusand her life was evidence of that calling. She lived each day by loving God and other people. She saw the image of God in every person and was committed to honoring the uniqueness and dignityof all. Her favorite scripture wasEzekiel 36:26:  “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone...and give you a heart of flesh.”


She was a 1965 graduate of Cumberland County High School and received herBachelor of Arts Degree in English and Sociology from Campbellsville College in 1970. Jo was a retired Social Worker serving 27 years for the Kentucky Department of Human Resources. She worked tirelessly to help improve the lives of countless children and families. More recently, she worked for Kentucky Community and Technical College at the Albany and Russell Springs campuses, assisting students through Project Beam: Bringing Education and Achievement to Migrants. Jo was self-taught to fluency in the Spanish language, which contributed to her students’ success. She assisted immigrant families in their transitions to life in the United Stated and pursuit of citizenship. She also worked for the Clinton Center Library in Albany, Kentucky. In 1997 she helped to establish “We Care of Cumberland County” in memory of Shirley Davis Anderson who died of cancer. “We Care” continues to financially supports cancer patients of Cumberland County for gas and food expense when traveling to doctor appointments or cancer treatments. She was alsoa strong supporter of Coe Ridge preservation initiatives and looked forward to the Coe Ridge Family Reunion each year.


She was a well-known author within the region, publishing original poetry and children’s books. For many years she penned the column, Jo’s Bookmark, appearing weekly in the Cumberland County News often filled with her creative writings and featured spotlights of her beloved Cumberland Countians. She was gifted in many ways and used her creativity to encourage and inspire others. Jo was a renaissance woman--she wrote exquisitely, read voraciously, composed cantatas, savored wonderful music, blessed others through her melodic voice and accompanied herself by playing the piano or guitar, loved nature and animals, served the downtrodden, and took beautiful and unique photographs. She enjoyed researching her ancestorial heritage as well as the history of Cumberland County. She was a caretaker of memories, particularly for her large extended family. She loved children and was “Aunt Jo” to many; she truly enjoyed giving to others. 


She is survived by three sisters and one brother, Susan (Randall) Davidson of Scottsville, Kentucky, Deborah (Sam) Keen of Burkesville, Kentucky, Judy (Mark) Knowles of Shelbyville, Kentucky, and Tim (Lisa) Murley of Bowling Green, Kentucky; seven nephews and one niece, Todd (Claudine) Davidson of Burkesville, Kentucky, Joey (April) Davidson, Brady (Lacey) Murley, and Joe (Cara) Murley of Bowling Green, Kentucky, Joshua (Sierra) Knowles of Shelbyville, Kentucky, Lucas (Kelly) Davidson, Nashville, Tennessee, Andrew (Kristen) Keen of Lascassas, Tennessee, and Leigh (Tyler) Beevers of Bloomington, Indiana; nine great nieces and four great nephews, Taylor (Marshall) Henson and Allie (Trent) Thomas of Burkesville, Kentucky, Tanner (Macy) Davidson, Caroline Davidson, Amelia Murley, Lyla Jo Murley, and Raylee Murley of Bowling Green, Kentucky, Ada Knowles of Shelbyville, Kentucky, Seth Kestranek and Sammy Kestranek of Bloomington, Indiana, Warner Davidson, Smith Davidson, and Sloan Davidson of Nashville, Tennessee; three great-great nieces, Adilyn Henson, Berkley Henson, and Razzie Thomas of Burkesville, Kentucky; one great-great nephew to be born in August 2021and one great-great niece or nephew to be born in November 2021; two special cousinsJim (Barbara) Murley of Burkesville, Kentucky and Donna (Jerry) Karr of Richmond, Kentucky and their families: Aja, AJ, Rue, and Oscar Jacobi and Sara, Josh, Hanah, Hope, and Eli Mooreof Richmond, Kentucky, Chris and Kristin Murley of Bowling Green, Kentucky, Rachel, Brent, Anne-Kelly, Cora, and Stockton McDaris of Burkesville, Kentucky, Kris, Megan, Myla, and Tilly Karr of Washington, D.C.,and many more cherished family and friends. 


In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her beloved uncle and aunt, Bill and Arilla Murley.


Norris-New Funeral Home in Burkesville, Kentucky was honored to be in charge of the arrangements. The funeral was conducted on Wednesday, June 30, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. in the Memory Chapel of Norris-New Funeral Home in Burkesville. Father Ajay, Hon. Lanny E. Judd officiating. Obituary read by Leigh Anne. Special singing by Rachel McDaris, Tanner Davidson, and Tim Murley. Casket bearers were Joe Murley, Lucas Davidson, Brady Murley, Joey Davidson, Andrew Keen, Leigh Beevers. Honorary casket bearers were, Lanny and Patsy Judd, Jim Murley, Soug Butler, Bobby Butler, Randall Davidson, Lisa Murley, Mark Knowles, Sam Keen, Rita Gosser. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Stockton Family Cemetery Fund or Holy Cross Catholic Church, Burkesville, Kentucky.


A private mass was conducted at 1:00 p.m. in the Holy Cross Catholic Church.


The world is diminished by its loss of Norma Jo, but, like a firefly in the night, her brilliance has illuminated the world around her for this moment in time. Her works and her words remain, calling us all to live better, to love one another better, and to cultivate beauty whenever and wherever we can.


The Morning Star


There is a Light, a morning star

adrift in the sky this cold gray dawn.

It calls me forward

leads me along to a sacred place,

an eternal home for us Immortals.


O perfect Light, o perfect Dawn,

from You come words

that master songs, new and old.

melodies played, beat out with drum

inspired with hope in the perfect One.


O Morning Star, beautiful and bright

You swept the terror from the night

then chose to show yourself to me,

to me! How my soul does sing

that I choose Thee.

Written by Norma Jo Murley



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June 29, 2021

4:00 PM
Norris & New Funeral Home
601 N Main St
Burkesville, KY 42717

Funeral Service
June 30, 2021

11:00 AM
Norris & New Funeral Home
601 N Main St
Burkesville, KY 42717

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