Friends and family of Rochelle Murray — a lifelong champion of children’s literacy — are mourning the death of the former Davenport children’s librarian.

Murray, 85, of Davenport, passed away on Sunday, July 31, 2022 at her home.

“Rochelle served the community her entire life: as a children’s librarian at the Davenport Public Library for 45 years (its children’s library now known as the Rochelle A. Murray Children’s Center), as a radio host, and as a founder and director of the Children’s Literature Festival with her close friend David R. Collins,” Midwest Writing Center executive director Ryan Collins said in an e-mail.

“Rochelle was on the founding Board of Directors of the Midwest Writing Center, and throughout our 40-plus years in operation, no one has done more to contribute to the development, growth, and success of MWC,” Collins said.

Murray died at age 85 on Sunday, July 31, 2022.

“She volunteered countless hours for the many organizations and causes she supported, and touched hundreds of thousands of lives with her kindness, generosity, enthusiasm, and love for the written word,” he said. “She was truly one of a kind, and she will be deeply missed. “

Murray dedicated her life to promote literacy and the love of reading to the young people of the QC area, according to her obituary. The Davenport Public Library Board of Trustees voted to rename the children’s library to the Rochelle A. Murray Children’s Center.

Murray was manager of children’s services at the Davenport library for 38 years.

She worked for 18 years as a radio show hostess for WOC Radio and for several years had a television show with the city of Davenport on a cable TV channel focusing on the cultural life in the QC area.

Because of her interest in children’s literature and friendship with author David R. Collins, she was a founder and director of the Children’s Literature Festival, now the Rochelle A. Murray Children’s Literature Festival. For over 30 years annually, tens of thousands of students, teachers, and chaperones have attended, met, and learned from authors and illustrators.

In addition to the festival, Rochelle played a major role in developing the Midwest Writing Center, now based at Rock Island Public Library, 401 19th St. She was a Emeritus Board Member.

“Rochelle always supported the creators of the written word and showcased their talents in so many ways,” her obit says. “She organized and presented the annual Salute to Authors while at the Davenport Library. This event honored our local authors.”

Along with a small group of Midwest Writing Center board members, she planned and offered the first David R. Collins Writers’ Conference, which has now completed its 17th year and continues to be a highlight for many local and regional writers. She spearheaded the creation of the Midwest Writing Center Legacy Society.

All of these activities had Rochelle giving hundreds of volunteer hours annually. “Rochelle eagerly shared her time, talent, and treasure in promoting the literary arts in our community,” the obituary says. “She is acknowledged in numerous local authors’ work. She was a true champion of the literary arts.”

Her awards include the Bi-State Literacy Council Award, Sister Camille Clark Exemplary Service Award, Lloyd Schoeneman Community Arts Supporter Impact Award, Mississippi Bend Reading Council Merit Award, and the Cornelia Meigs Award for Children’s Literature in the Quad Cities.

Services for Murray will be Saturday, Aug. 6, at 2 p.m. at The Runge Mortuary, 838 E. Kimberly Road. Visitation will be Saturday from noon until the 2 p.m. service, at the mortuary. Her final resting place will be in Davenport Memorial Park Cemetery.

Online condolences may be left at www.rungemortuary.com. Memorials may go to the Midwest Writing Center.