McDonald said he was amazed at how Murrell knew about everybody’s funeral “under the heavens.”
He said Murrell, as much as a local icon as he was, wanted his own service to be “totally the opposite of what people might think. He didn’t want it to last over an hour. He wanted to be cremated. He didn’t want a whole lot of folks talking over him. He loved a big funeral but didn’t want one.”
Arrangements are still pending.
Bernice King, CEO of the King Center and daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, posted about Murrell on Be A King’s Facebook account.
“My friend … I was so saddened today to learn that “The Happy Preacher” (Elder Cal Murrell) died. We were truly blessed to have him as a part of the Atlanta community and as a regular, joyful presence at so many seminal events, including The King Center’s annual MLK Day Commemorative Service. He cared about us and gave so much of himself on our behalf. Rest In Peace, Happy Preacher. We’ll miss you Monday.”
Others also took to social media to remember Murrell.
One Twitter user said Murrell was Atlanta’s “first Black Christian socialite.”
Others posted photos or videos of him with his trademark tambourine or praise dancing.