A devoted son, husband, father, brother, and University of Minnesota citizen, J. Scott Murdoch, age 60, of St. Paul, died on November 19, 2020, after a two year journey with Glioblastoma Multiforme, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Scott was born in Argentina and also lived in the Philippines as a young child.  His family eventually moved to Virginia, MN, where he wrestled and played football and sang in the choir and graduated from Roosevelt High School. Scott attended the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, earning a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He began working full time at the University as a student and never wanted to work anywhere else.

Scott spent more than 30 years coming up with solutions for the U. He created the University’s first web-based course database, fondly referred to systemwide as “ECAS.” He designed and implemented a web system to convert the U’s courses and degree programs from quarters to semesters. Before survey software tools existed, he hand-wrote web surveys to get needed information from students, faculty, and staff. And, he was respected at the U for his ability to pull data and produce reports to support decision-making.

Scott had a huge and loving heart. He was devoted to his family and never left a family party without giving each person there a hug. He claimed he was terrible at small talk -- he always washed the dishes at family events so he wouldn’t have to chat! He could pack the car for a vacation or a kid’s move like he was playing Tetris. He loved condiments, PBJ sandwiches, Elton John’s music, taking cool travel photos, statehood quarters, building Lego Technic sets, Minnesota’s North Shore, classic muscle cars, and campfires. He hated hidden agendas, the texture of both mushrooms and cucumbers, wearing dress shoes, being hot, and eating any fish that might contain a bone.

Scott raised tens of thousands of dollars for AIDS patient care, MS, and diabetes through his cycling. Almost a year into his journey with brain cancer, he walked a 5K to support the American Brain Tumor Association. He was the secretary of the U of M staff bowling league for two decades and could always be found at the lanes on Wednesday nights, eating tater tots and helping the teams with their score sheets. He bowled and won prize money in the Amateur Bowlers Tour. For WTCARES, the national Welsh Terrier rescue, he personally fostered more than 30 Welsh terriers, while running the website used to match Welshies with new owners across the USA.

Scott is survived by his wife of 19 years, Cynthia James Murdoch; his beloved stepchildren, Emily Macaluso (Tony Guerra) and Philip Macaluso; his mother, Angela Romeo; his uncle, Vincent Romeo; his sisters, Moira (Irvin) Richards of Tucson, AZ, Rani Murdoch Zappa (James Zappa) of Edina, and Dana Murdoch (Roger Meyer) of St Paul. He is also survived by 8 nieces and nephews. He will be missed dearly by extended family and numerous friends, and by his dog, Lida Rose.

Special thanks to Dr. Richard Peterson, Denise Shannon, and Amanda Richard, of Regions Hospital Cancer Care Center, for their excellent, compassionate care and their immense kindness. Huge thanks, also, to Holly Dang, for all the days and long nights of help caring for Scott during his time in hospice at home.

We will hold a post-pandemic celebration of Scott’s life when the time is right. Until then, please honor him by teaching life skills to a child, giving a dog some skritches and pats, bowling a few games with family, repairing something for a loved one, sharing some tater tots with friends, being honest, acting with integrity, working hard at your job, and doing the next right thing.

Instead of flowers, consider a donation in his name to WTCARES, c/o Lyn Hollis, 164 North Forrest Avenue, Camden, TN 38320; or to the Regions Hospital Foundation in support of the Cancer Care Center; or to the University of Minnesota Foundation, supporting undergraduate students.

Published on November 22, 2020