Morrison-Knudsen Chairman Dies At 57
BOISE, Idaho (AP) _ William H. McMurren, chairman and chief executive officer of Morrison- Knudsen Co., a worldwide engineering, construction and shipbuilding firm, died early Monday after an extended battle against cancer. He was 57.
McMurren headed the Boise-based firm from 1972 until last year when William Deasy was named president and chief operating officer.
Company spokesmen said McMurren died at his Boise home.
McMurren, a native of Ontario, Ore., was a graduate of Texas A&M. He joined Morrison-Knudsen in 1955 as office manager for a California dam project. He was named a vice president in 1968, executive vice president the next year and served as president and chief executive officer from 1972-84.
He was on the M-K board of directors and the board of Westinghouse Electric Corp. and served as director and former president of The Beavers, an association of engineering and construction executives.
McMurren is survived by his parents, S.F. and Louise McMurren, Brogan, Ore.; his wife, Carlyn, Boise; a daughter, Catherine McMurren Palmer, Auckland, New Zealand and a son, John H. McMurren, Boise.
A statement released by M-K said McMurren guided the company through a period of great expansion and significant broadening of the company’s traditional engineering and construction activities.
The company finished major expansion of its Boise headquarters during that period and acquired full ownership of National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., the largest shipbuilder on the West Coast.
McMurren, born Oct. 20, 1927, served in the infantry in World War II, graduated in 1950 with a civil engineering degree and was recalled to the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He taught engineering at an officer training school in Virginia.
He was the son of a California-based construction native and worked as a youth in almost every sort of a field job, from laborer to equipment operator.
In 1960, he was manager of construction of one of the nation’s largest Atlas missile bases on Oklahoma, and two years later managed a large Minuteman missile base project in Missouri.
In 1965 he became manager of the Missile and Space Division, served as Eastern District office manager in New York City and moved to Boise in 1968 when elected a vice president.
The Moles and The Beavers, the nation’s two major associations of construction executives, honored McMurren recently and he was named an honorary member of the Society of American Military Engineers.
Two years ago, the Republic of Zaire conferred upon him the Order of the Leopard, that nation’s highest award, for Morrison-Knudsen’s performance on Zaire’s 1,200-mile Inga-Shaba power transmission line.