Jack Murdock — A Life Well Lived
Jack Murdock was born in Portland, Oregon, on August 15, 1917. Upon graduating from Franklin High School, Jack chose, with help from his parents, to go into business rather than to pursue a college education. He purchased a shop for the sale and service of radios and electrical appliances. There, in 1936, he began a long-term working relationship with his technician, Howard Vollum, which resulted in the pair becoming principal co-founders of Tektronix in 1946 in Beaverton, Oregon. This course of development was interrupted only by Jack’s brief stint in the U. S. Coast Guard during World War II.
Jack first served as Vice President and General Manager of Tektronix. Then, in 1960, he was elected Chairman of the Board, a position he held until his untimely death on May 16, 1971. Tektronix, Inc., with headquarters presently in Wilsonville, Oregon, has become one of the world’s prominent electronic instrumentation companies and a major employer in Oregon. While the Trust is proud of its Tektronix heritage, it is an independent private foundation with no connection with the company.
Jack had a number of interests beyond Tektronix. One of these was Oregon Bulb Farms, which grew high grade Asiatic/Oriental Lilies commercially. Another was a Piper distributorship for the Pacific Northwest, operating out of Pearson Field in Vancouver. He was a pilot and his favorite plane was a Piper Super Cub. He was intensely interested in aviation safety and initiated a number of modifications of aircraft to make them safer and more serviceable to pilots. His love of aviation brought him to an untimely death at the age of 53 in a float plane accident on the Columbia River.
Jack Murdock was both an idealist and a realist and a life-long seeker of new insights. He believed in science as a main source of knowledge, and knowledge as a key ingredient to addressing and solving the issues and challenges of our world. He was thoroughly unpretentious, soft-spoken, and a listener. He possessed a rare combination of good judgment, hard work, tolerance, life-long learning, and scrupulous honesty. He practiced philanthropy through his own private foundation that existed until the Murdock Trust was formed.