Meet Ashby Murray

Retiree enjoying life in Northeast Florida


Ashby Clifford Murray, known as “AC” by friends and family, has been proudly living in North Florida for seven years. He is a St. Augustine resident who enjoys the tranquility of the historic area. Murray has been to 48 of the 50 states, but he sure believes that, besides his hometown in Harrisonburg, Virginia, North Florida is the most wonderful place to retire.

Murray was drafted to the military at age 18 during the Vietman War. He was sent to Fort San Houston in Texas for medical training. There, he was selected along with five others out of 500 men and went to Korea where he served as a medic. During his time in the military, Murray traveled to Somalia, Thailand and Korea. He remembers his first time leaving the United States to fly to Korea and how intriguing the experience had been.

Through his travels, Murray landed in the small Caribbean Island of Trinidad and Tobago. He found the warm and breezy climate delightful. Murray recalls having his “first Christmas on the beach” on the island, which was a strange thing for him since he was so used to snow! Murray loved the welcoming hearts of the Trinidadians and even met his future wife, Jacqueline, on this Caribbean Island.

Murray spent most of his life in the communications field working for companies such as Contel, where he set down communication cables all across the United States.

Today, AC lives a relaxed life in St. Augustine. He enjoys collecting stamps and rare coins. Murray has a collection of more than 1,000 First Day cover stamps and has been selling them as a hobby. Some of the oldest stamps in his collection are from the 1930s and can sell for up to $20 a piece.

AC also likes creating art. He received a degree in fine arts at Community College in Virgina and has never stopped having a fascination with crafts. In fact, AC has hand-designed boat oars on which he meticulously draws nautical subjects, like whales and dolphins. His creations always have a delicate and detailed touch.

In one of his more recent projects, Murray painted a beautiful scene of sharks on an antique bathtub. The creation has such a unique look, as he used bone white and stark black paints to create a flowing contrast. He said that his inspiration for such a look came from Meerschaum art, which is fine art made with white clay.

Ashby Murray enjoys spending time with his wife, family and friends here in North Florida, and he always likes telling entertaining stories about his life travels to his guests.

Soleil Shah is a student at Ponte Vedra High School.