Obituaries: Clarence John Murdock

Clarence John Murdock, 87 years young, passed away Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at his home surrounded by family and friends after a never-say-quit battle against cancer fought with his ever-present smile, whit, charm, and hearty laugh. A longtime resident of Whigville, CT, Clarence was known to his neighbors, friends, and family as the Mayor of Whigville, Clancy, Mert, CJ, Clarence John, Mr. Fantastic, and Poppa Bear.  Clarence was born in Bristol, Connecticut on November 8, 1929, the son of Azel and Esther Mae Carlson Murdock. Clarence was predeceased in January by his devoted wife of 66 years, Lois; his infant sister Jane; and his younger brother, James L. Murdock, Sr. of Terryville. He is survived by his beloved brother Erwin D. Murdock and wife Jane, of Farmington, and his adoring sister Emily M. Bodamer and husband, Roger, of Harwinton. Clarence was the loving father of four children: Dale W. Murdock and his wife Cheryl of Middletown; Jane E. Murdock of Bristol; Davy J. Murdock of Whigville; and Sara M. Lo Presti and her husband Michael of Plantsville. He was very proud of his nine grandchildren: Shawn, Matthew, Anna, Stanislaus, Mayvella, Alicia, Joshua, Rebecca, and Abigail, and one great-granddaughter, Makayla. He leaves behind many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. Dad and his high school sweetheart Lois square danced, polkaed, and played cards.  An avid vegetable gardener, Dad also planted zinnias and daffodils for bouquets he brought in to Momma throughout the season. Each spring, Dad picked wild pussy willows for Momma. He ate lunch each day with Mom at Countryside Manor of Bristol for three and a half years, or sent us when he was ill.  Clarence owned and operated the Murdock’s Tree Farm on Main Street for nearly 50 years. He loved his customers and they loved him. Dad was a member of both the Connecticut and National Christmas Tree Growers Association. He taught us all great salesmanship, resulting in generations of customers making their annual pilgrimage to the farm. Dad was a tool and die maker, retiring from his favorite employer, the A.G. Russell Company in 1995.  Clarence served in Army during the Korean Conflict era as a metal shop instructor at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Serving stateside, Dad always joked the only battles he fought were on the New Jersey Turnpike. A proud veteran and active member of the Bristol American Legion Post # 2, Dad served on the Baseball Committee, running the 50/50 raffle for years with his buddies.  Committed to civic duties, Clarence was a proud Republican, a Burlington Charter Committee Member, and District # 10 School Board Member for over 12 years. He enjoyed sparring with Democratic friends and family.  Scouting Dad served as Troop 23 Scout Master, Pack 23 Cub Master, and Council Member. In 1968, his peers awarded him the Silver Beaver Award for Distinguished Service to Boyhood – the highest honor a volunteer in the Boy Scouts of America organization can receive.  Dad worked to open Camp Cochipianee in Goshen for the summer season, so we spent our “vacations” with hundreds of Boy Scouts while Dad worked at the camp.  A devout Lutheran, Clarence faithfully attended services at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. As he aged, his wingmen helping him receive communion. On his last trip to church on Easter Sunday, he received an unintentional standing ovation from the congregation, arriving to service during the first hymn. His faith remained strong to the end, reciting the Lord’s Prayer hours before he passed with Pastor Jim and his children.  Dad loved the Boston Red Sox, the Whalers, American Legion Baseball, UConn Women’s and Men’s Basketball, Men’s Soccer, and Men’s Baseball. He bowled, solved Sudoku puzzles in pen, camped and crabbed at Hammonasset. He loved fishing with his brother-in-law Roger, his sons, and his grandkids. Be it at a pond, lake, stream, or shoreline, Dad was happiest with fishing pole or ice fishing tip, coffee, and a box of Cumbie’s glazed doughnuts at hand. Dad especially loved his family, enjoying the grandkids’ updates on educational and life accomplishments. Clarence truly loved all his siblings and their spouses. Their calls coming in were cheerfully answered, “Your dime, go ahead!”  The family thanks the Bristol Hospital Home Care and Hospice team Katie, Jody, Nicole, and Perry; longtime doctors Liftman, Judson, and D’Addario; and St. Francis Hospital Cancer Center staff including Dr. Rathmann, Dr. Shimanovsky, Norma, Leftovers, Loretta, Linda from China, valet parking David, and Raul in Emergency for their excellent care.  His funeral will be held Monday, May 1, 2017 at 11am  in Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 355 Camp St., Bristol.  Burial with military honors will follow in Burlington Center Cemetery, Burlington.  Calling hours will be held Sunday from 4-7pm at DuPont Funeral Home, 25 Bellevue Ave., Bristol.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Clarence to Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 355 Camp Street, Bristol, CT 06010 or Burlington Library Association, Inc., PO Box 1379, Burlington, CT 06013.  To leave a condolence message in Clarence’s guestbook please visit