Longtime Lexington restaurateur Elizabeth "Libby" Arn Murray died Sunday at her home in Lexington. She was 73.
Mrs. Murray and her son, Bobby Murray, owned Merrick Inn and Murrays' Restaurant.
Mrs. Murray was married for 39 years to the late Robert Allen Murray.
The couple, who had owned a grocery store in Libby Murray's native Maysville, bought Merrick Inn in 1975, when Bobby was 12 and working there as a dishwasher.
After Robert Murray died in 1995, Bobby Murray took over management of the restaurant with his mother.
They opened Murrays' about seven years ago.
"Her life was the restaurant industry," Bobby Murray said. "Up until last week she ran the schedule. She loved it, loved people."
Betty Lamb, Mrs. Murray's longtime friend, said she "made everyone who walked in the door feel like they were the most important patron at Merrick Inn."
She said Mrs. Murray was a hard worker who "thought she was running late" if she got to the restaurant at 7:30 a.m.
Lamb said her late husband and Robert Murray were first cousins. After the men died within three months of each other, "we just became like soulmates. Like sisters. ... We shared everything."
"There are no words to describe the beauty within her. She was spirited. She was fun."
They and a group of women friends went to dinner together every Tuesday night and called themselves the Tuesday Tarts. Every Christmas night, Lamb said, she would build a big fire in the fireplace "and she and I would just enjoy the quiet ... just unwind from the hustle and bustle. Christmas will never be the same."
Lamb and Bobby Murray said Mrs. Murray's three grandchildren were her greatest joy.
Bobby Murray said his mother had battled scoliosis for a long time, but "she always had something witty to say and had a smile on her face."
"She was a trouper through the whole thing," Lamb said.
Mrs. Murray was a member of Immanuel Baptist Church.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Immanuel Baptist Church, with burial in Lexington Cemetery. Visitation is 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the church.
Milward Funeral Directors on Broadway is in charge of arrangements.