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Bruce Leland Murdock(September 10, 1942 - April 4, 2014)



Bruce's wife, daughter, family and his many friends celebrate a life that was filled with intelligence, humor and generosity.

Bruce lost his life, most likely from a sudden heart attack, while stacking firewood for his family.

Bruce Murdock, Captain Courageous of His Majesty's Royal Raiders, was born in Toppenish, Washington, to Verda and Leland Murdock. His sister, Linda, was born three years later.

He attended elementary school in Yakima, Washington, and middle and high schools in the Tri-Cities, where he graduated from Kennewick High School in 1960.

Study in economics and English at the University of Washington took him across the Cascades. A lover of sun, he lived most of his life on the rainy side, moving eventually to the Peninsula. He received his double bachelor's degree in 1970.

Bruce served actively in the U.S. Coast Guard for six months and finished the rest of his military commitment in the reserves. After jobs in Seattle, Washington, at Boeing and as far east as Goldendale, Washington, he worked in the timber industry in Port Angeles until 1986.

He retrained as a tax preparer, spending many years in an occupation he loved and which suited his acute mind.

He met his wife, Alice, when he attended one of her first poetry readings at Peninsula College, where she worked as an instructor for almost 30 years. Between the two of them, they served the financial and educational needs of many area residents and in their ramblings often met their former students and tax clients.

Their daughter, Lisel, was born in 1986.

Wordsmith, woodsmith, rocksmith, puzzlesmith — these are some titles Alice would give Bruce, whose skill with his hands was phenomenal. They met over their love of words and never lost that deep connection, Bruce starting Lisel out with the Oxford Companion to Children's Poetry when she was 10 days old.

The family hiked and traveled together. A 50-day trip to Greece in 2007 fulfilled one of Bruce's lifelong dreams.

They also spent many summers in Germany, helping Alice develop her language skills. Bruce shared her passion for World War II history. He supported Alice's writing career throughout their 33 years together, no mean task.

Bruce also had a lifelong interest in boats and in Native culture, as well as a passion for liberal politics.

Bruce lived to meet his son-in-law, Ron, and to know Lisel would achieve his greatest wish for her, as she was recently accepted to a doctoral program in education at Stanford University.

Bruce's son-in-law characterizes Bruce as having achieved so much in his life: staying faithful to his family and to his passions, remaining dedicated to his intellectual and cultural growth throughout his life, and being skilled with his hands.

Lisel knows that her father's kindness toward others, which he never boasted of but demonstrated through his every action, will continue to inspire her, Alice and his family and friends.

In addition to Alice, Lisel and Ron, Bruce is survived by five brothers-in-law and their families, his sister's son and family, and several cousins.

Bruce's memorial service will be held in September at the house he built on Deer Park Road in Port Angeles.

Published in The Peninsula Daily News on Apr. 18, 2014
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