SEAVIEW - Richard W. "Dick" Murfin, 90, died June 19, 2007, at his residence in Seaview following an extended battle with Parkinson's disease. The son of Arthur M. and Adella (Hawes) Murfin, he was born in Sunnyside on Nov. 26, 1916. He attended Sunnyside High School, graduating in 1934.
In 1939 he graduated from the University of Washington where he majored in journalism and was a member of the Sigma Delta Chi journalism honorary. He worked for the Puyallup Valley Tribune as a reporter and news editor before securing a position on the Yakima Morning Herald in 1940. Two years later he was given the opportunity to purchase the Ilwaco Tribune from his father-in-law Frank L. Turner. He moved to the Peninsula and for the next 33 years served as its reporter, editor and publisher. Over those years his paper received numerous awards as part of the Better Newspaper Campaign sponsored by the Newspaper Publishers Association.
These years were interrupted in May 1945 when he was called into the Army and sent to the Fort Bragg Separation Center. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant and placed in charge of the counseling branch, interviewing soldiers returning from Europe. He was honorably discharged in 1946 and returned to editing and publishing The Tribune.
As a newspaperman, he was keenly aware of his role and accompanying responsibility to serve the Peninsula not only by reporting issues correctly, but through editorials, awakening its citizens to specific needs for community improvements. His commitment to the wider community extended beyond the local area. In 1950 the Washington State Historical Society recognized The Tribune as the weekly newspaper that had rendered the most constructive service toward the preservation of Washington history.
Mr. Murfin was an active member of the Long Beach-Ilwaco Kiwanis for 63 years, including over 50 years of perfect attendance. He served as president in 1953 and later in 1977 was elected to the district position of lieutenant governor. During his tenure as president he initiated and organized the Kiwanian "Clam Diggers' Breakfast," which became an annual community event for many years. The proceeds raised from this event became the primary source of funds used by the Kiwanis club for various community service projects.
In April 1975 he sold The Tribune and retired. For the next several years he worked as a free-lance writer for The Longview Daily News. In 1984 he served as a representative for the southwest district counsel of the Health Systems Agency. He also served on the Fort Columbia Advisory Committee, which was formed to discuss and determine alternative uses of the state park. He volunteered for a number of years at Long Beach Elementary School, reading with children and was an active participant with the Peninsula F.I.S.H. emergency program, retiring after 34 years of service.
Having appreciated his growing up years as a Boy Scout where he reached Eagle Scout status, it followed that he would choose to bring the best qualities he learned from scouting to other scout-aged youth. He led Boy Scout troops on the Peninsula for many years, including several years as a Cub Scout Master. He was a member of Ocean Beach Presbyterian Church and served as superintendent of the Sunday school for 13 years.
Survivors include his wife Martha Turner Murfin of Seaview; daughters Ann Coffey of Shelton and Maureen Hunsberger of Ritzville; sister Mariem Murfin Brumbach of Scott Depot, W.V.; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Thomas H. Murfin, and son Robert R. "Rick" Murfin.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 1, at the Ocean Beach Presbyterian Church in Seaview with a reception following. Private interment will be at Ilwaco Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Harbors Home Health and Hospice, 210 7th St., Hoquiam, WA 98550.