Well-Known Member Of Ag Community Killed In Farm Accident
A prominent member of the north country agriculture community died Wednesday as the result of a farm accident in the town of Champion.
Jefferson County sheriff's deputies say 83 year old Douglas Murray, co-owner of Murcrest Farms, was crushed when a mower unit fell on him.
(Read the full obituary for Doug Murray here.)
Police say the mower was attached to a tractor and held up by blocks while Murray worked on it.
"Apparently, he was attempting to change some mower blades, had the mower blocked up, but one of the blocks failed," said Sheriff John Burns.
A fixture in the local agricultural community, Murray was a former and founding member of the Jefferson County Agricultural Development Corporation.
He was also trustee emeritus and long-time trustee of the Watertown Savings Bank.
He was a member of Jefferson Community College's board of trustees from 1971 to 1983, and was president of that board from 1979 to 81.
Even after an age requirement forced Murray off the Watertown Savings Bank board, he didn't really quit.
"He still came to the board meetings, still actively participated, still made his comments," recalled Mark Lavarnway, President and CEO of the bank.
"We all looked to him for counsel."
It was the kind of comment you heard often Thursday, as people recalled Doug Murray.
"When he said something, you knew it was well thought out," said Art Baderman, the agriculture outreach coordinator for Cornell Cooperative Extension.
"He'd speak up and disagree, very politely, and all of a sudden the group would start to shift in the direction he was leading them" said Jay Matteson, Jefferson County's agriculture coordinator.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014, Watertown, NY
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