It is with deepest regret that we report the passing of former National Secretary and long-time DX Times Utilities Editor EVAN MURRAY on 5 March at the age of 87.
I first met Evan in 1965 when I moved to Wellington and joined the local branch of the DX League. Evan was then working at RNZAF Shelly Bay, and I recall an early incident when a large bull chased him as we inspected a possible DX listening site near Mount Crawford Prison. Not only quick on his feet, Evan was an ideas man, meticulous in everything he tackled, and always willing to help in any way he could.
Born in Scotland, he joined the RAF in 1938 and rose to the rank of Flight Sergeant. In 1952 he transferred to the RNZAF and finally retired from the service in 1970. That was the year he moved to Auckland and married Dorothy.
When the DX League Administration moved to Auckland in 1992, the club was very fortunate that Evan took on the key role of National Secretary. He resigned from that role in early 2005 following a mild stroke. But he continued his commitment to the club with editorship of the Utilities column until now.
We presented Evan with a special recognition certificate in 2002 in acknowledgement of his significant contribution to the League over many years. We have lost one of our hobby’s greatest gentlemen!
At Evan’s funeral on 10 March, League Vice-President MIKE BUTLER spoke on behalf of members. He was accompanied by BARRY WILLIAMS, DAVID NORRIE, PHIL VAN DE PAVERD, PAUL FREIDRICHS and BRYAN CLARK. In his tribute, Mike said that “from the moment I joined the League in December 1997, I received good counsel from Evan whom I regarded as one of the finest gentlemen in the League’s management line-up. He was National Secretary when I joined and involved in every issue that came up. I remember that he was the only one who had his phone number in the magazine and that typified Evan’s nature. As a mere new member I found him so approachable that a good friendship soon developed and lasted to this day. He was even recently sending me interesting pieces that he found on the subject of shortwave propagation. Evan’s contribution is typified by his unbroken work on the Utilities column in the DX Times, with which he had tremendous knowledge, since well before I turned up until his death, in spite of dreadful health problems. He gave an enormous amount of his time and enthusiasm to our club – very few can equal his immense contribution. I will certainly miss Evan and I am sure my feelings will be the same as many others.”
Immediate Past President DAVID NORRIE recalls, “I first met Evan about 11 years ago when I came to NZ and became involved with the DX League. With a common Scots heritage (and a similar brogue) he made me feel very much at home. His dry sense of humour and “can do” attitude paid dividends, Evan remained optimistic about radio matters even, dare I say it, when there was no real rationale for doing so!! His efforts to grow the membership via Dick Smith and other electronic retailers were legendary, volunteering to pursue various marketing managers long after short-wave radios were a must-have item. In his professional heyday (with Griffins Foods) he must have been a shrewd operator. I sat together with Evan at the top table of many an AGM, I can see him now shuffling correspondence and reading aloud with that twinkle in his eye… we will miss him.”
From former National President (and current Auckland Branch President) BARRY WILLIAMS comes this tribute: “I met Evan when he moved to Auckland and joined the Auckland Branch. I was immediately impressed with his enthusiasm for our hobby. Shortly after, he became the branch secretary, a position he held for quite some years. Auckland has hosted 4 National Conventions over the years, 3 in Auckland and one at Whangaparaoa, and again Evan was one of the key workers planning the events. In the 90s when ADCOM moved to Auckland and I became president, Evan stepped forward to become National Secretary. Again his enthusiasm for the hobby of DXing came out, as he tirelessly worked on ideas to gain new membership for the DX League. Some of his ideas we tried, others we rejected, but he continued with enthusiasm. On behalf of Auckland Branch members I would like to say thank you Evan, for what you have done for us. We will miss you.”
Utilities Column contributors ROGER PRYDE and DALLAS McKENZIE have expressed their condolences on Evan’s passing. Says Dallas – “I was saddened to learn of Evan’s death. We had been friends since 1961 when I lived in Evans Bay Wellington and he was across the water from me at RNZAF Shelly Bay. I’d lost contact with him when I moved to London in 1982, only to find his name in an SWL Magazine I purchased. Working at the NZ High Commission, I was able to track him down and we corresponded until I returned to NZ in 1999, and then by email. He will be sadly missed.”
Evan’s widow Dorothy has expressed appreciation for the flowers sent to her with a message of sympathy from all League members.