Commissioner Murdock was born in Newport, Rhode Island. His father was a commander in the U. S. Navy and his parents had relocated there during World War II. After the War, they returned to Western Washington and lived in Winlock and Castle Rock before moving to Toledo where he graduated from high school. The move to Toledo resulted in the purchase of an 80-acre farm which launched his interest in farming and ranching. He raised hogs, sheep, and cattle and each year raised and marketed several thousand fryers he sold under his own label to customers in Seattle.
After high school he enrolled at Washington State University where he majored in agriculture and journalism. At commencement, he was named the outstanding graduate in the College of Agriculture and the outstanding graduate in journalism. After leaving WSU he went to work for the McMinnville News-Register and enrolled in a masters degree program in education at Linfield College.
Two years later he went to work as a teacher at W. F. High School in Chehalis. He spent sixteen years in Chehalis as a teacher, vice-principal and principal. In 1982 he moved to Walla Walla where he served as deputy superintendent of the Walla Walla School District. Eleven years later, he became superintendent of schools in Pasco. In 1997 he was named Washington’s superintendent of the year. Two years later, he moved to Pendleton to become superintendent of what is now the Intermountain Education Service District. In 2007, he was named editor and publisher of the East Oregonian. Two-and-a-half years later, he became superintendent of the Douglas ESD.
Throughout his time in Chehalis, Walla Walla, and Pendleton, he continued to build his interests in ranching. While the family still owns a small flock of registered sheep, their primary focus has turned to Red Angus cattle. The home ranch is on Yoakum Road. He served four terms as president of the American Montadale Sheep Breeders Association and is currently a member of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association.
In 2002 Murdock was named a distinguished graduate of Washington State University. In 2008 he was inducted into the College of Agriculture, Home Economics, and Natural Resources Hall of Fame. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the WSU Foundation.
He has been a Rotarian for forty years and he and his wife Donna are members of the First Christian Church in Pendleton. They have three children, Shannon Bergevin who lives in Walla Walla with her husband and two children; Bryn, who lives in Hermiston with her two children; and Ian, who lives in Echo with his wife and two children.
He was elected to the Board in 2013.