John Malcolm Murchison, Jr. ’61

John Malcolm Murchison, Jr., 84, died peacefully surrounded by loved ones at his longtime residence in Charlotte, NC on Monday, December 18, 2023.

John was the son of the Rev. Dr. J. Malcolm Murchison, and Clara Christian Murchison, a Presbyterian minister from central Louisiana and a housewife from Charles City Co., VA. He grew up in Crowley, Louisiana; Clarksville, TN and Concord, NC, graduating from Concord High School in 1957. He enjoyed returning to Concord monthly for hot dogs and good cheer among his former classmates. John was a graduate of Davidson College (like his father) in the class of 1961 and was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. His enduring Wildcat legacy includes his daughter, son, and a grandson.

After service in the United States Army as a broadcaster for AFKW military TV in Korea, John returned to North Carolina, and began a career in TV broadcasting. He had two adored children from his first marriage to Mary Hartman Murchison. John was a reporter and later news director of WGHP in High Point. In 1967 he decided to change careers and attended UNC law school where he obtained a JD with Honors. He was a member of the Board of Editors and business manager of the NC Law Review, and a member of the Order of the Coif. John began his practice of law with the NYC firm Mudge, Rose, Guthrie, and Alexander, and subsequently came back to North Carolina where he was an associate attorney, and later partner for more than twenty years at Kennedy, Covington, Lobdell, and Hickman, retiring from its successor, K&L Gates. John enjoyed his anti-trust practice in North Carolina and the many jovial times made possible in the company of his esteemed partners and colleagues. He was active in the work of the North Carolina Bar Association and its then named anti-trust and trade regulation section. John also supported international trade in North Carolina and served as president of the Charlotte chapter of the NC World Trade Association and the state board of such organization.

John loved spending time with his wife Gail, often traveling to the mountains, or with occasional adventures to NYC or abroad, as well as with many contented quieter hours at home. For many decades he enjoyed memorable multi-generational gatherings at Christian family reunions in Yorktown, VA that were attended by the many descendants of his maternal grandmother and grandfather.

His retirement allowed a fun transition to kid Uber chauffeur, and special time spent with his grandchildren. He enjoyed running and tennis, along with camping, hiking, and other mountain adventures including the Highland Games, donning his kilt with pride to join his brother Jim in representing The St. Andrew Society of Carolina at the festivities at Grandfather Mountain. He was an active member of First Presbyterian Church where he served for many years as an usher, taught adult Sunday School, and helped with local mission activities.

John served for nine years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, underscoring his greatest lifelong love: music. During high school he played in a band and hosted a daily radio program on local station WEGO. He loved the piano and guitar and always encouraged entertaining sing-alongs made jubilant with his deep voice caroling the tune, and his stomping foot keeping time. His repertoire spanned gospel hymns to Kinky Freedman to Tom Leher; from devout to heartbreaking to hilarious. While family and friends were in grateful awe of his abilities, he modestly joked that his Yamaha baby grand piano was like having a $10 saddle for a $2 horse, a statement with which no one who had ever heard him play or sing would agree. His captivating performances inspired his mentor and friend William Covington to pen a poem that became a family favorite; it concludes, “The antidote to all of this/The recipe for perfect bliss/Is music, which as you can see/ Turns me on and sets me free.”

He is survived by his loving wife of 36 years, Gail McGary Murchison; his children, Bess Murchison Kercher and her husband, Kent and John Hartman Murchison and his wife, Meredith; grandchildren, Will Kercher, Dillon Kercher, Clara Murchison, Lilly Murchison, and Garrett Murchison. Also surviving are his siblings, Kathleen Smith, Betty Brown, Martha Strickland and her husband, Jerry, James Murchison and his wife, Dawn; and many nieces and a nephew. He was predeceased by his brothers-in-law, Sherwood Smith and Dan Brown.

The family would like to thank Drs. Todd Griffith, William Downey, and Peter Justice for their caring and complex care.

A memorial service will be held 11:00 AM on Friday, December 22, 2023, at First Presbyterian Church, 200 West Trade Street, Charlotte, NC. The family will receive friends following the service at the church. The service will be livestreamed at: for those unable to attend in person.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be offered in memory of John to VIA Health Partners (formerly Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region), 7845 Little Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28226 or Dilworth Soup Kitchen and Pantry, 1200 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203.