Peter C. Murray, longtime organics champion and founding vice president and board member of the Organic Materials Review Institute, died July 24 in a boating accident on Lake Macatawa in Michigan. He was 52.
Mr. Murray had more than 27 years experience in the organics industry. He worked for Frog Holler Produce, was co-owner of Eden Natural Deli and Grocery, also worked for Eden Foods Inc. and Maggie?s Clean Clothes and, most recently, was president of Sustainable Systems Design. He worked extensively with OMRI, the Organic Trade Association and the Organic Crop Improvement Association.
?He dedicated his life energy to helping to build the organic community and was always willing to selflessly look for solutions at the cutting edge of policy problems,? said Bill Wolf, president of Wolf and Associates and Thorvin Kelp, and past president of both the OTA and OMRI. ?He would dig into the toughest of issues trying to find a way to capture in regulations the underlying principles and philosophy behind organic.?
Mr. Murray was born in Evansville, Ind., raised in LaPorte, Ind., and educated at Indiana University and Ball State University.
He worked with the OTA on writing the organic fiber processing standards, was working on the team analyzing European Union and Japanese organic standards to help advise the U.S. Department of Agriculture on equivalency negotiations, and was on the personal care task force. According to OTA Executive Director Katherine DiMatteo, ?He approached his work with a passion for organic agriculture and conversion of the world to organic.?
Wolf said that on a personal level, Mr. Murray ?affected my ability to put time aside to enjoy nature, good friends and good places. He brought some of the Tao back into my life.?
Mr. Murray is survived by his wife, Betsey; three children, daughter Skye Murray Albers and sons Tyler and Brett; mother, Ruth Ellen Murray, of Sanibel, Fla.; and three siblings, brothers Len Jr. of Owensboro, Ky.; James of Prairie Village, Kan.; and sister, Kitty, of LaPorte, Ind.
In Mr. Murray?s memory the family asks, ?Please support a local farmer.? Donations in his memory can be made to either a college fund for his children or the Heifer Project. Checks should be made out to the Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1500 Scio Church Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48103 and designated ?Murray Children College Fund? or ?Heifer Project.?
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXV/number 9/p. 14, 16