We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Peter Murphy. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends.
Peter was a real friend of our Association. He helped celebrate our 75th anniversary in Jasper with a great slideshow and presentation on the history of forestry in Alberta. He was our ‘go to’ source for history, photos, and other resources. Our industry has lost a legend and friend. Peter will be dearly missed.
Born in 1930, Peter started working for the Alberta Forest Service in 1954 after a short stint in BC. A graduate of the University of New Brunswick, Peter will be remembered as ‘everything forestry’. In 1956, Peter became head of the AFS Training Branch that led the establishment of the Forestry Training School (now Hinton Training Centre) in 1960. Peter’s tenure in Hinton led to the development of wildland fire, and forest and land management training core to the management of Alberta’s forests. In 1973, Peter moved to the University of Alberta as a professor in the newly created forestry program. In 1975, Peter became the chair of the Forestry program at the University of Alberta; a position he held until his retirement in 1995. There Peter taught and conducted research in forest policy and forest fire management. He completed an MScF at the University of Montana in 1963 and a PhD at the University of British Columbia in 1985. As Professor Emeritus, Peter continued to teach forest policy and forest history courses at the university.
On top of all of Peter’s accomplishments, he was also a renowned forest historian, authoring many books, delivering hundreds of presentations, and creating a passion for Alberta’s remarkable forest history. It always amazed me how Peter could weave a story and still deliver a 150 slide presentation in the required 30 minutes. Sometimes he went over!
Peter spent his last day tending to seedlings he had planted in St. Albert’s White Spruce Forest.
The faculty at the University of Alberta has put together the video below that showcases Peter’s work. It is a great tribute to his life.