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Dottie Murden Dies

Dorothy Gibson Murden, PhD, 76, died Monday, July 1 at Washington Hospital Center, Washington D.C. after a car accident the previous Friday.

She had attended a farewell luncheon at the Washington Sailing Marina for Thomas M. Ballentine, who was retiring as secretary of the U.S. Section of the International Navigation Association (PIANC), and her car was struck by another vehicle as she entered the northbound lane of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. She was trapped in her vehicle for a time before rescue workers were able to get her out. Not badly injured, Dr. Murden was hospitalized for several days, and was in good spirits late Monday night when a friend left her. She died of a heart attack several hours later.

Dottie, as she was affectionately called by friends and acquaintances, had kept up her connections with PIANC, the Corps of Engineers and the dredging industry since her husband Bill’s death on March 15, 1997.

Throughout her career, she was a strong supporter of her husband’s efforts to bring about improvements in the dredging industry, and in a letter written to a friend after Bill’s death, she described how she had carefully arranged her vacation days so she could accompany him to out-of-town meetings.

She became a business partner with her husband, William R. Murden Jr., who had been chief of the Dredging Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in 1988, after they both retired from their primary careers. They operated Murden Marine Ltd. in Alexandria, Virginia until his death in 1997.

After Bill’s death, she edited papers for publication in psychological journals, and attended meetings and gatherings connected with the dredging industry, the Corps of Engineers and the waterways. She was on hand to participate in the presentation of the annual William R. Murden Lifetime Public Service award by the Dredging Contractors of America, established in 1997.

On June 17, she attended the dedication of the Poplar Island Dredged Material site in Chesapeake Bay. This island restoration and wildlife refuge was dedicated to the memory of Bill Murden, with plaques placed in a landscaped park on the island, and on shore in Norfolk.

She was a native of Georgetown, South Carolina, and an English graduate of Limestone College in Gaffney, South Carolina. She received a master's degree in psychology and counseling from American University and a doctorate in psychology and counseling from Heed University in Florida. She did guidance counseling work in Norfolk before moving to the Washington area in 1956.

Dr. Murden was a senior guidance counselor at George Washington High School in Alexandria, Virginia from 1956 to 1961. She then began doing guidance and personnel work for the entire Alexandria school system, and retired in the early 1980s.

Her memberships included Washington Street United Methodist Church in Alexandria. She was a charter member of the Army Engineer Officers Wives Club and an honorary member of the International Navigation Association (PIANC).

Survivors include a sister, Jane Nirk, of Idaho, and a brother, Robert Gibson of Summerville, South Carolina.

See IDR, March/April 1997, In Memoriam, William Roland Murden, Jr., 1922 – 1997.

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