Murrell Henniger

By Deborah Jones

Murrell Henniger is one of those women who inspire us with her perseverance and perpetual good humor. As we write this article, Murrell celebrates the 79th anniversary of her birth in Cincinnati, Ohio, on July 25. We suspect a fiery spirit lurks behind that soft voice and gentle spirit. Murrell denies being a perfectionist but admits to being adventurous, perhaps not just as a quilter. We have seen her lovely works executed in brightly colored fabrics, in the soft tones of romantic prints, as well as in the style of vintage scrap quilts. For several weeks in late 2005, Murrell exhibited and offered for sale some of her quilts in a one-woman show at her church in Decatur.

Murrell was married to her first husband, whom she met at Ohio University, for eight years, until his death. She met her second husband Bill, a widower with grown children, when she and he worked for the Defense Department in Birmingham. Following their wedding and a transfer to the Atlanta area, Murrell retired from corporate life and became a domestic goddess. There are four children, six grandchildren and six step-grandchildren who think she is quite special.

It was in Chamblee, GA, and about 1970, that Murrell became interested in quilts. She bought some fabric at Gingersnap Station but actually waited until the late 1970s to start quilting. Her daughters still await the completion of those two twin quilts. In the between times, Murrell has completed many other projects. Initially, she only tackled bed-sized quilts but now will take on wall quilts and smaller projects. When we first came to know her well in 2001, Murrell was busy at a Georgia Quilt Council retreat on Jekyll Island. Envision Murrell and her sewing machine, sitting at the dining room table, surrounded by an overwhelming number of small freezer paper patterns and very tiny bits of fabric, homework for Cynthia England’s Picture Piecing class. At present, there are about 30 projects “on file” in her basement-sewing studio. Murrell maintains project lists, one labeled Active, the other Inactive. In this way, projects that she no longer finds inspiring do not distract her from currently exciting projects or from those for which she has a firm deadline. If you wish to adopt this strategy, keep in mind that projects may move from one list to the other - and back again.

Ever busy, Murrell Henniger is a Chamblee Star, since 1995, and member of the Georgia Quilt Council. In years past, she served as Chamblee Stars’ Quilts for Egelston Committee Chair and as East Cobb’s Community Service (Ronald McDonald House) Committee Chair.