John Wesley Murrin

  • "Thank you for your service to our great country! R.I.P."
  • "John was a true gentle man. We will miss his company."
    - Barbara and Bob Kabel
  • - Alicia Abercrombie
  • - Leland Murrin

John Wesley Murrin John Wesley Murrin, aged 85, passed away peacefully of heart failure in the early hours of March 3rd in State College, with two sons and a grandson at his side. He was predeceased by Wilma Murrin aged 78, his beloved wife of 56 years, in late 2009. They are survived by a daughter, three sons, and 10 grandchildren. Daughter Leslie lives in Texas and sons Dan, Joe and Jack reside in Virginia, Arizona and New York City, respectively. John Murrin was born in Ottawa, Canada in 1928, while his mother Bertha, a Canadian, was on an extended family visit. Shortly thereafter, they returned home to NYC where he grew up in St. Albans, in the Borough of Queens. His father Leland, originally from Oklahoma, served as a lead customs officer for the Port of New York, where he oversaw the "nerve center" of local war shipping for President Roosevelt's "Bridge of Ships" to Britain during World War II. John served in the U.S. Army, after which he attended Queens College in Flushing, N.Y. He graduated in 1951 with a B.S. in Chemistry, with majors in chemistry, physics and mathematics. During college he interned with the Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Institute where he contributed to pioneering work in ultrasonics for medical technology. He also performed some of the initial research on the synthesis of human body proteins from ingested proteins and amino acids. John and Wilma met at Queens College, from which she graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1953. They married and moved to Indian Head, Md. John had joined the U.S. Naval Propellant Plant as a physical chemist. Wilma worked several years for the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative before becoming a full-time homemaker following the birth of their first child. In 1983, John retired from Naval Sea Systems Command in Arlington, Va. having helped oversee the transformation of the NPP into the Naval Ordnance Station and one of the centers of excellence of the U.S. Navy's propulsion efforts. As a leading thermodynamicist, he worked with colleagues in the U.S. and its allies around the world on propulsion systems for naval guns, missiles, rockets, torpedoes and naval vessels. He chaired the joint Army, Navy, NASA, and Air Force Interagency Propulsion Committee. In 1996, John and Wilma moved to Foxdale Village, in State College. They had become enchanted with the area after John's frequent trips to work with professors at Penn State University. They enjoyed the charm of State College and the stimulation of Penn State. They also looked back fondly on their over forty years living in Southern Maryland: they loved its rural, tidewater character. Their ashes will be interred together in St. Mary's County, Md.

Published in Centre Daily Times on Apr. 4, 2014
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