David Murdoch, III, of Chatham died as the result of an accident on his boat on Monday, June 19 at the age of 78. David was born in Boston on November 16, 1938 to David Murdoch, Jr. and Doris Werner Murdoch. He was raised in Needham and Harwichport and graduated from Needham High School in 1956. Upon graduating, David enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, where he quickly achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant and was an Expert Marksman. Following his service in the Marine Corps, he attended Worcester Junior College and Dean College.
In the early 1960s, he met Gay Witherbee of Stow and Chatham. They were married in Chatham at the First Congregational Church in 1966 and ran a b&b called “The Last Run” in Vermont, where Dave taught skiing lessons. Dave and Gay settled in Chatham in 1970 and later had two children, David and Kate. His family was his pride and joy and he loved being a part of Chatham’s tightly-knit community.
In 1970, David founded Images Photography, a successful commercial studio in Hyannis. He continued to photograph weddings, portraits, and advertisements throughout the Cape for about 30 years. Among the many notable subjects he photographed were Bob Hope, Tony Bennett, Arthur Fiedler, and the Kennedy family.
David had a lifelong love of the water, spending countless hours on his boat as a young boy. He would often run his small skiff from Allen’s Harbor to Nantucket—unbeknownst to his parents, of course. He would grow up to become a USCG-licensed 100-GT Master, and pass on his love of boats to his two children, who would also become licensed captains.
In 1997, he founded Chatham Water Tours, conducting sightseeing tours and private charters throughout the waters he loved. He owned and operated the business until his untimely death, never tiring of showing off Chatham’s natural beauty. Also in the late ‘90s, he started Cape Ship Models, restoring and scratch-building museum-quality models. He was commissioned to build models of vessels ranging from a 13’ Boston Whaler to one of the world’s largest yachts, the Bart Roberts—with countless clippers and catboats in between.
He was actively involved with Women of Fishing Families, was a past member of Stage Harbor Yacht Club and Chatham Platform Tennis Association, and was a past board member of the Friends of Monomoy Theatre. Dave was a longtime volunteer at Chatham Elementary School, helping the younger students by reading with them. He would also bring school groups out on his boat every spring to see the seals.
David was easily recognized throughout the community of Chatham as he drove around in his famous blue Jeep with the American flag flying from the back. His family will always remember him as a sweet, loving, and funny father, grandfather, husband, uncle, and brother. He was quick with a dry one-liner, and was known to all as a reliable and faithful friend.
David is survived by his wife of 51 years, Gay Witherbee Murdoch; his son, David (Karen) Murdoch, IV; his daughter, Kate Murdoch; his granddaughter, Regan Murdoch; his sister, Jean Walker; many adoring nieces, nephews, cousins, and brothers-in-law; and his beloved black Lab, Gordon.
Visiting hours will from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 25 at Morris, O'Connor & Blute, 678 Main Street, Harwich Center. A memorial service will be at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, June 26 at the First Congregational Church, 650 Main Street, Chatham, MA 02633. There will be a reception following the service at the Wayside Inn in Chatham. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.