The June 24 obituary of Herman Lee Murrell gave an incorrect location for Thomas Stone High School. It is in Waldorf. (Published 6/25/04)
Herman Lee Murrell, 63, who was principal of two high schools in Charles County and a leader in his community in Prince George's County, died June 19 of stomach cancer at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He lived in the Lake Arbor neighborhood of Kettering.
He was a teacher and administrator in the Charles County schools for 24 years, beginning as a teacher of instrumental music at Thomas Stone High School in Leonardtown in 1971. He became the school's vice principal from 1975 to 1979.
He was named vice principal at Maurice J. McDonough High School in Pomfret in 1979 and, from 1985 to 1991, served as the school's principal. In 1988, he received a commendation from the governor of Maryland for managing an emergency at McDonough, when gymnasium bleachers collapsed and injured 78 students, four of them seriously.
In 1991, Mr. Murrell returned to Thomas Stone as principal, and in 1992 was the only Charles County principal to receive a Distinguished Educational Leadership Award from The Washington Post. During his tenure at the school, students' test scores showed marked improvement.
After he retired from education in 1995, he became known as the "Pied Piper of Lake Arbor" for his walks through his Prince George's community, where he had lived since 1987. He was a founder and charter member of the Lake Arbor Civic Association and chaired a grass-roots neighborhood communication network. He helped organize the annual Lake Arbor celebration, as well as an awards ceremony for community volunteers.
In 2002, he received an "Unsung Hero" award from Tuskegee University, and in 2003 he was named Prince George's County volunteer of the year.
He taught Sunday school at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in the District.
Mr. Murrell was born in Washington, N.C., and graduated from North Carolina A&T University. He was a band director in Statesville, N.C., before moving in 1967 to St. Mary's County, where he taught music until he took his first position at Thomas Stone.
Survivors include his wife of 39 years, Elaine Brown Murrell of Kettering; two sons, Jeffrey and Allen Murrell, both of Mitchellville; a sister, F. Susan Murrell of Washington, N.C.; and two brothers, Alroy Murrell of Wilmington, N.C., and Bonner Murrell of Mitchellville.