Lee Funeral Home


Marshall E. Murdaugh

January 30, 1941June 26, 2021
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Marshall E Murdaugh, age 80, a native Richmonder who rose through the ranks of the world’s tourism industry to become one of its top destination marketing organization presidents and strategists, died Saturday June 26, 2021 after a long and courageous fight with Lewy Body dementia.

He is survived by his beloved wife Vivian Frear and two sons, Reese D. Murdaugh of Richmond, Virginia (Tanya) and Marshall J. Murdaugh of Middletown, Delaware, three stepsons, Matthew House of Las Vegas, Nevada, Clayton House of Felton, Delaware and Joseph Frear of Magnolia, Delaware, and grandchildren, Tyler, Julia, Whitney, John, Joan and Jack.

He was predeceased by his father, Marion Murdaugh and mother, Dorothy Mae Rosenbloom (Murdaugh). He also was predeceased by his Uncle Reese and Aunt “EZ” with whom he had a very special bond.

Following graduation in 1963 with a BFA Degree from Richmond Professional Institute, (now Virginia Commonwealth University) Murdaugh held a number of Richmond area positions in the field of marketing communications. He was an original member of the production staff for WCVE-Public Television station; sports, weather and weekend news anchor at WTVR-CBS television affiliate; Public Information Officer for Henrico County Government, and Public Relations Manager for Industrial Markets at Reynolds Metals Company.

At age 30, Murdaugh became the youngest state government tourism head in the United States when he was appointed State Tourism Commissioner for the Virginia State Travel Service (1970-83. He is credited with integrating the Virginia is for Lovers theme created by Martin and Woltz Inc. for state tourism advertising, into a fully consolidated brand tourism marketing program for Virginia that won national award recognition from America’s Travel Industry Association.

During his tenure in Virginia, Murdaugh was a special consultant to the U.S. Department of Commerce and received the agency’s First Special Citation for contributions to the Development of America’s Visit USA Program for international travel marketing. He also served as Chairman of two major regional tourism organizations that marketed Virginia to the growing international visitor market: Travel South USA of the eleven southern states and the Washington, DC Mid-Atlantic States Travel Council. Murdaugh taught commercial recreation and tourism for seven years as a member of VCU’s Adjunct Faculty and also served as the President of the University’s Alumni Association.

After serving Virginia Governors Holton, Godwin, Dalton and Robb, Murdaugh became President and CEO for some of America’s most successful convention and visitor bureau destination marketing organizations, including Memphis (1983-‘87), New York City (1988-‘93) and Atlantic City (1994-2000). He also served as board member for the tourism industry’s principal tourism associations, including the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus, the Travel Industry Association of America and the Association of Travel Marketing Executives, which honored him with their Atlas Award for Lifetime Career Achievement.

Since 2000, Murdaugh had been the principal of Marshall Murdaugh Marketing, providing strategic planning consulting services to more than one hundred travel destinations, including Los Angeles, Baltimore, the Palm Springs Desert Resorts Region of California, Mexico City, Acapulco, Miami, Hilton Head Island, Savannah, Puerto Rico, Myrtle Beach, Niagara Falls Canada, the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota, Nebraska and Maine.

In 2012, he authored the book, Destination Marketing Insights, which became a major industry resource for tourism marketers, and was a frequent international lecturer and speaker for professional tourism conferences.

Murdaugh was a national advocate for amateur sports and served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the United States Amateur Boxing Foundation.

Marshall was an avid adventure traveler throughout his life and visited many distant destinations in Africa, India, Peru, Australia and South America. After retirement from his consultation services, Marshall and his wife Vivian continued their love of adventure travel to many European countries, New Zealand, China and their final adventure destination together in Sicily. Along the way, he made many new and long-lasting friendships. He had a passion for playing and viewing tennis and attended the U.S. Open in New York numerous times. He was an avid runner and ran several marathons.

In his youth, he was a magician and loved to demonstrate his magical skills to entertain others throughout his life. Marshall and his wife moved from Richmond to their retirement home in Little River, SC in 2019. There he enjoyed serene times watching birds on the pond behind their home and napping with his cat, Sugar Ray.

Marshall enjoyed spending special time visiting with his many close and dear friends in Memphis, Richmond, Lorton VA, Cinnaminson N.J. and West Virginia. He was an avid art collector and took great pleasure creating and painting colorful abstract and floral art designs. Marshall will be deeply missed by his wife, family, grandchildren and special friends. The family would like to extend their appreciation to MSA Hospice and ArchAngel home care for their tender and compassionate care for easing his final days. Services will be conducted at 12:00 noon on Friday, July 16, 2021 at Lee Funeral Home,11840 Highway 90, Little River, SC with burial to follow in North Myrtle Beach Memorial Gardens, Veterans Cemetery. The family will greet friends beginning at 11:00 a.m. prior to the service at the funeral home.

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Marshall E. Murdaugh

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Maura Gast

July 19, 2021

I am so very sad to hear the news of Marshall's passing, even moreso to see that the beast Lewy Body claims another brilliant mind. All of us in the destination industry owe so very much credit to Marshall for teaching us the "101" (and often the 201, 301, 401 and graduate classes) in many things, but especially in the true art of branding. He was a master, and a kind, kind colleague who always made you feel as though you were the most important person in the room when you were talking with him. Rest in peace, Marshall, and to all the family, my prayers with all of you for your own peace and comfort.

Donovan Shia

July 16, 2021

Marshall was a dear friend and colleague. His guidance and consultation over the past 15 years not only helped propel my career in the CVB industry but formed a true friendship and bond that I'll never forget. He was always available to hear my latest rants or support my business development efforts. His love and passion for our industry was just remarkable.

Marshall introduced me to amateur boxing and we had so much fun serving together on the US Boxing Foundation Board. I'll never forget our numerous encounters and trips to Memphis or late night cigar smoking at Industry conferences -- so many fond memories.

Marshall loved to tell us stories about his wonderful grand children. Rest in peace my friend and our heartfelt condolences for Vivian and family.

Gary Grimmer

July 15, 2021

I've known Marshall since the mid-80s through IACVB, we both ran bureaus and served on the board together traveling to some interesting places. On a trip to Beijing in 1992 he told us all to bring lapel pins of our cities to hand out to the kids we came across. He had the red NY "big apple" pin. While walking across Tiananmen Square one afternoon he spotted a couple of little kids and we asked their parents if we could give them some pins as a gift. After the 5 seconds it took us to do that, we were startled to find ourselves surrounded by a big throng of people craning their necks to see what we were giving the kiddies. It was like one moment everyone was spread out and the next there was a huge crowd. There weren't many Westerners in the square that day, so I suppose we were attracting attention anyway. Marshall was one of a kind, some of my best and most entertaining memories are times I got to spend with him. He was smart and funny. In fact, I can't think of Marshall without chuckling and in my mind that's about as good a complement as you can pay anyone.

Dennis O'Connell

July 15, 2021

Marshall was a valued colleague on the USA Boxing Foundation and a true advocate for the sport and the young boxers. His perspective was unique and thoughtful and always flavored with a sense of humor. A ten count goes out for you my friend.

Deborah Miller

July 5, 2021

In a lifetime of great jobs, I spent two (maybe three) years at the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau, originally as front desk, then office manager. I'm not sure I ever worked for anyone as energetic and inspiring as Marshall and he challenged us every single day. He put me in charge of a Memphis Tourism Summit and followed by Tour Memphis, a designated city sign project directing tourists to all the Memphis attractions. I didn't realize he meant that once the project launched that I'd be the one to go out and actually help get those signs up all over Memphis. It was exhausting and exhilarating, and we celebrated over dinner at The Peabody.

As a frequent visitor to Sunset Beach, I hate I didn't know you were right there in Little River, SC. It would have been fun to catch up with you and meet Vivian.

Marshall, fly high on the ultimate tour and I know who will be directing. ❤️

Brad Smith

July 5, 2021

Words cannot adequately express the loss that Janet and I feel with the passing of our dear friend Marshall. He brought so much happiness into our lives with trips to see him and Vivian in Richmond and Myrtle Beach, my going to see him in Baltimore, Norfolk and Memphis, attending the US Open tennis matches, USA Boxing Foundation meetings and climbing Pikes Peak together. Marshall always had everything planned out, places to see, places to eat, people to meet and events to attend. He was such a great person and friend. We feel very fortunate to have had Marshall in our lives. He will always be remembered and we will miss him tremendously.

Joe Briglia

July 3, 2021

My heartfelt sympathy to Vivian and Marshall's family and best friends. Marshall was truly special, so full of life. He accomplished much, building his reputation on the foundation of his character and marketing expertise. He tackled high level/stressful jobs, often politically charged. He was passionate about so many things, very 'worldly', a renaissance man and a guy's guy indeed.

We first met in early 80's, when Marshall headed the Atl. City CVB. I worked for SMG, a private operator of public facilities and we enlisted Marshall's support to privatize Conv. Hall and the new Convention Center under construction. We built a friendship during our weekly 6:30am tennis matches at Seaview Country Club and lunches at Angelo's Fairmont Tavern.

Several years later Marshall started consulting for SMG and became an integral part of our business pursuit team during my tenure at VenuWorks in Ames, Iowa. Marshall was whip smart, and a fun collaborator, always positive, persistent and determined. Marshall commanded attention addressing any audience and oozed competence about all things destination marketing, lodging demand/hospitality and visitor travel. He liked to say how he's "... been to the mountaintop..." and you just knew he can tell you what's on the other side!

To Vivian, his children and grandkids, Marshall loved you with his heart and soul. There are no goodbyes, Marshall's spirit and zest for life will be lovingly remembered.

Reese Murdaugh

July 2, 2021

Dad’s 80th Birthday

Cassandra Taylor

July 2, 2021

Marshall hired me at the Memphis CVB in 1985 right after he was appointed. I retired from the Memphis CVB in 2017 after 32 years. I am forever indebted to Marshall for his guidance and leadership. He was a true leader.

Linda Verheul

July 2, 2021

I can not think of Marshall without also thinking of Vivian. I met them both at the same time and was impressed by how well suited they were for each other. They had just gotten married and Vivian had just moved to Richmond.

During dinner at Juleps on East Grace Street, Marshall was charming and modest as he entertained us with stories about his interests and hobbies. He barely mentioned his long career and broad reaching influence in the tourist industry. He was not one to name drop or boast. Marshall was very engaging and made you feel that what you had to contribute to any conversation was worthwhile and interesting. He always locked eyes with you when he spoke to you.

Likewise, Vivian was charming, kind and modest about her own accomplishments as a counselor, her time in the air force and raising her sons. Both she and Marshall shared a love of travel and meeting new people. They were so delightful to be with and you could see they shared a deep admiration and love for one another.

Russ and I will miss Marshall. His kindness, intelligence, ability to discuss so many topics and issues with a deep understanding will be missed. But mostly we will miss his twinkling blue eyes as he smiled and laughed. He truly enjoyed life. He loved Vivian so dearly. He was a good friend. God bless you, Marshall on this new journey. Now you can experience the whole universe enveloped in the unconditional love of God. We look forward to seeing you in heaven some fine day.


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