Create an Account - Increase your productivity, customize your experience, and engage in information you care about.
Peter J. Murdock, 76, of Ypsilanti, Michigan, passed away on May 4, 2019, at his home after a short illness.
He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 1, 1943, son of the late Grant and Irene Konikow Murdock. He is survived by his wife, Grace Sweeney. He is also survived by his sister Susan Murdock of Bradenton, Florida.
Pete graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in political science.
For the majority of his career, Pete worked in the non-profit recycling sector, first with the Ypsilanti Recycling Project where he developed Ypsilanti's curbside recycling program and expanded the recycling drop-off center. Later he was employed by Recycle Ann Arbor retiring in 2005.
Raised in a family of activists, Pete was a life-long campaigner for civil rights. Upon moving to Ypsilanti in the late 1960s, Pete immediately became involved in local causes, including helping form the Ypsilanti Food Co-op. He also worked with the Ypsilanti Tenants’ Union and SOS. While employed at Motor Wheel, he was active in the UAW and served as his local chapter’s safety steward.
After purchasing their Craftsman bungalow on River Street, Pete and his wife played key roles in the founding of the Ypsilanti East Side Neighborhood Association and were early supporters of the Depot Town Association, working to revitalize the Depot Town commercial area.
Pete dominated Ypsilanti politics for more than 30 years. In 1978, Pete was elected as a Democrat to the first of three consecutive terms as a Ypsilanti City Council Member. He became Mayor in 1982 and went on to be re-elected to that position in 1983, 1985, and 1987. He was later elected for additional City Council terms in 1991, 2008, 2012, and 2016. He was the longest serving Council member in the history of Ypsilanti with more than 25 years of service.
While serving the city, Pete was known for his fairness, efficiency, and attention to detail. He prioritized projects that focused on environmentalism, sustainability, historic preservation, financial stability, and public transportation. Notable accomplishments include forming the Eastern Washtenaw County Safety Alliance, expanding anti-discrimination policies, creating a self-sustaining Energy Efficiency Fund, supporting solar power projects, building community policing, and campaigning to join the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority.
A memorial service project is planned for later in the spring in Prospect Park in Ypsilanti.