Duane Lee McMurdie
June 3, 1950 – September 22, 2021
Duane Lee McMurdie, 71, of Nampa, Idaho, passed away unexpectedly at home on Wednesday, September 22, 2021.
Duane was born in Twin Falls, Idaho, on June 3, 1950 to Roy and Leona McMurdie. He spent his early years in Filer, Idaho, and then moved to Twin Falls, Idaho, where he lived until he graduated from Twin Falls High School in 1968. While at high school, Duane was active in football, basketball, track and elected as class president his senior year. Upon graduation from high school, Duane earned a football scholarship to Ivy League school Princeton University and was also a team member on the Princeton Rowing Crew (Go Tigers!).
After a strong desire to return to Idaho, he transferred to Idaho State University (ISU) in Pocatello, Idaho (Go Bengals!). While at ISU, Duane worked on a wildland firefighting hand crew for the U.S. Forest Service within the Sawtooth National Forest. The hand crew would later come to be known as the Sawtooth Interagency Hotshot Crew. In 1973, while firefighting and attending ISU, Duane met and married his lifelong companion Denise Belsher in 1974.
As a honeymoon, and to continue his employment with the U.S. Forest Service, for nearly four months Duane and Denise took up a remote residence in a fire lookout tower on the peak of Iron Mountain within the Sawtooth Mountains. The fire lookout was so remote, the U.S. Forest Service had to shuttle in food, water and other supplies to Duane and Denise with a helicopter. On one occurrence, their weekly supply helicopter was diverted to a large forest fire so Duane and Denise had to fish for and catch trout in nearby Heart Lake. After only eating and surviving off of trout for several days, the helicopter finally came back with their much needed supplies. To this day, Denise still hates and refuses to eat trout. After the 1974 fire season, Duane and Denise returned to civilization and Duane finished out his bachelor’s degree in Psychology at ISU.
Upon graduation from ISU, in 1975 Duane took up employment as a package delivery driver for UPS. In January of 1976 their son, Justin Marc McMurdie, was born and in July of 1979 their daughter, Lindy Michelle McMurdie (Bare), was born. While continuing his work with UPS and raising his two children with Denise, Duane was encouraged to pursue a career in Christian ministry. To fulfill this calling, in 1981 the McMurdie family moved to Caldwell, Idaho, where Duane earned a second bachelor’s degree in preaching ministry from Boise Bible College (1981 – 1983). While attending Boise Bible College, Duane started his career in ministry as an Associate Pastor with Caldwell First Christian (1981 – 1983). In 1983, Duane accepted a position as the Senior Minister of Gate City Christian Church (1983 – 1994) in Pocatello. Denise described the Gate City congregation as family members and lifelong friends. To broaden his education, in 1990 Duane earned a third degree from ISU in education and utilized it to teach history to at-risk high school students in the evenings.
In 1994 after Justin graduated from high school, Duane, Denise and Lindy moved to Boise, Idaho, where Duane became Director of the Intermountain Church Planters Association. He finished out his working life with Community Press Service as an advertising agent from 1998 to 2018 when he retired.
From 1998 to 2003, Duane and Denise purchased and moved to a house in a remote area near Prairie, Idaho. The family often reminisces and speaks of this time living 100% off the grid, raising animals, snowmobiling into the property with groceries and cooking with an antique oven that used burning firewood as its heat source. The family had a milk goat that would never leave Duane’s side while he was outside on the property. For those of you that know Duane, he always walked with a slight limp that progressed in his later years until he finally had to get a replacement hip. His so called “hip issue” started during this time as Duane was angrily smashing a large Mormon cricket infestation on the property.
Duane was adventurous and loved to explore. Traveling was a huge part of his life. His vagabond days started in 1972 with a three- and half-month backpacking trip through Europe. In fact, it was on this trip, that Duane met Jesus which forever changed his life. Other trip highlights included a 10-day cruise that he and Denise took with longtime friends from Gate City, a nearly month-long family trip through the U.S. seeing most of the nation’s landmarks, a family trip to Cancun, two other trips to Europe and countless other excursions. Another thing that Duane was passionate about was Boise State University football (Go Broncos!). In fact, he and his son were able to attend Fiesta Bowl I in Glendale, Arizona against the Oklahoma Sooners. This was and will always be a very special memory for both of them.
Duane enjoyed driving and talking, so to fill his idle time in retirement, he began driving for Uber and Lyft where he would “Uber Evangelize” to anyone willing to listen and to those he felt needed God. When he wasn’t Uber Evangelizing or spending time with his family, Duane would go on multi-day solo excursions exploring Idaho’s backroads and camping in the more remote areas of his beloved Idaho. He loved taking pictures during these trips and to share them with his wife (and anyone else he could corner).
Duane was a highly devoted family man and cherished his wife, children, and seven grandchildren. Along with family, serving God and people was closest to Duane’s heart. Duane and Denise attended and ministered in several congregations in the Treasure Valley, finally finding their church home at Parkview Christian Church, where their son Justin is the senior pastor.
Upon Duane’s death, Duane and Denise had been married for 47 years and built a wonderful life. He was preceded in death by his mother Leona, father Roy, stepfather George and brother Eugene. He is survived by his wife, Denise; his children and their spouses, Justin and Autumn McMurdie and Lindy and Richie Bare. Duane is also survived by his sister, Martha Speaker, his brothers, Don and Gary McMurdie, and his grandchildren, Daymien Marks, Emily Edwards, Ethnie, Tobin and Ivy McMurdie, and Ryan and Allison Bare.
The funeral service will be in Meridian at Parkview Christian Church on Friday, October 1st at 11:00 AM. A graveside service will be at Kohlerlawn Cemetery in Nampa at approximately 12:30 PM. The family would be honored for you to attend and celebrate his life.
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