Tom Murray collects signatures for his 'zero tax increase' petition outside the IGA in Meadowvale Mall.

Murray fought Pitt Meadows city hall, and won

Tax crusader dies of cancer, celebration of life will take place in new year

Tom Murray was always whistling a tune, a ditty from his stack of music, humming Big Band favourites or the oeuvres of classical composers.

“He had a lot of music in his head,” says his wife Norma, who often joined him to sing at care homes, choirs and church.

Murray passed away Sunday at the McKinney Creek Hospice in Maple Ridge after being diagnosed with cancer a month ago.

He was 73.

Born in Hamilton, Ont., Murray joined the Canadian Air Force at 22. That took him to the Baldy Hughes base in Prince George, where he worked as a radar technician.

After leaving the army, he ventured into real estate and eventually settled in Squamish, where he worked as a financial planner for a credit union. It was there he met Norma, via a Christian correspondence club.

It was back in the days before the Internet, she says.

“The old-fashion way, we wrote letters.”

Norma recalls tossing Tom’s address into her waste wicker basket, initially.

“I was taking the garbage out days later and his address flicked out and ended up on the ground,” she says.

“I thought, is this an omen? So I wrote him a letter and the rest is history. We were best friends, could finish each others sentences.”

Tom moved to Pitt Meadows after he married Norma and continued to work as a broker and financial planner until he retired.

In 2003, he was elected as a school board trustee and represented Pitt Meadows for one term.

“He wanted to make a difference and prove that politicians could be honest and work with bare bones budgets,” says Norma.

In 2011, Tom decided to take on city hall itself after reading a news article about increasing staff salaries and taxes.

It was Norma who challenged him to do something, instead of just complaining.

“He took it up and, boom,” she says.

“He was a determined guy. He always finished what he started.”

Although Tom failed to get the city to pursue a “zero tax increase” budget in 2012, he was successful in 2013. He spent the past two years pouring over city hall’s budget, spent weeks in summer seated outside a supermarket getting signatures for his petitions and even requested documents under the Freedom of Information Act.

He arrived at the hospice pleased he had achieved his goal and spurred others to push for fiscal responsibility.

A bursary will be started in Tom’s name for students of SD42 who will pursue a higher education in the arts.

Tom is survived by two children from a previous marriage, his step-children and grandchildren.

A celebration of his life, complete with New Orleans jazz, will take at Pitt Meadows United Church on Harris Road on Saturday, Jan 4 at 1:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, a donation to the Tom Murray Memorial Bursary would be welcomed.

Cheques can be written to:

School District 42 (Tom Murray Bursary)

22225 Brown Avenue

Maple Ridge, B.C.  V2X 8N6

 

Just Posted

Angry Inuk season finale for Cinema Politica Ridge Meadows

Film examines the impact of anti-seal-hunt campaigns on the lives of the Inuit

Mad Hatter’s High Tea for mental health in Maple Ridge

The second annual Mad Hatter’s Parade and Tea Party will take place May 26

Birds of a feather coming together for Maple Ridge art gallery

The ACT Art Gallery’s annual fundraiser TeaGarden! takes place May 27

Face pies for $5, all for a good cause

Managers at Save-On-Foods, ValleyFair Mall location have volunteered their faces as targets to raise money for B.C. Children’s Hospital

Maple Ridge tech company will power Uber Elevate

Moli and Uber announce RD partnership

Rachel Notley to skip premiers conference to focus on pipeline deal

Kinder Morgan has ceased all non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline project until it receives assurances

UPDATE: Woman dies in ocean accident near Tofino hours before daughter’s wedding

“We are so thankful to everyone who helped our mom.”

Olympian sues USA Swimming, saying it failed to protect her

Ariana Kukors Smith alleges her former coach Sean Hutchison began grooming her for sexual abuse at the age of 13

Defence minister thanks troops for B.C. flood relief work

Harjit Sajjan says not only was military response quick, support from locals has been ‘tremendous’

Arrest made in last week’s double shooting in East Van

Carleton Stevens, 37, is charged with attempted murder and remains in custody

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

‘So grateful:’ Injured Bronco hockey player glad he’s alive, works on recovery

Ryan Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and punctured lung

PHOTOS: Floodwaters rise and fall in Grand Forks

The flood-ravaged Kootenay-Boundary region begins to heal

Most Read