by marlys good
Dawn Murdoch was crowned grand marshal of the Greybull Holidazzle celebration, which is Friday evening in downtown Greybull. The crowning took place Monday at the family business, Murdoch Oil Inc.
Up to that point, Monday was just another day for the honoree. Even a call from Murdoch Oil employee Nan Bullinger was nothing out of the ordinary. Nan called to ask Dawn if she would come down and cover for her while she went to lunch.
No problem. Dawn threw on an old T-shirt (“Thankfully, I put on a sweater over it”) and was on her way.
When she got to the business she was shocked at all the cars in the parking lot. “Hmm, they must really be busy.” Then she walked in and was greeted by grandson Preston who was holding a bouquet of flowers. Now, that was NOT ordinary. “He doesn’t do things like that. The only time he would buy me flowers was to put on my grave,” she laughed.
And there was grandson Nicky, a second surprise, as the GHS senior had been home sick. “Then I saw Nathan and Beverly and Sarah and Ben and Bob (Mayor Graham) and I knew something was up.”
Mayor Graham explained it all, presenting Dawn with an official plaque and the “official sash.”
“I was definitely surprised,” said the newly crowned grand marshal. “I don’t know why they picked me, but I was very, very flattered.
Graham explained, “I just thought we would continue the theme of selecting longtime business owners within the community who had made tremendous contributions to the town and community. The Murdochs definitely fit that criterion. I felt like they should be recognized.”
Bill and Dawn and their three children, Darrin, Will and Paul, moved to Greybull from Worland in the late 1960s after purchasing the business from the late George Clement.
The family has been active in the town, the community, the school, different organizations and their church. Bill served as chief of the Greybull Fire Department for 25 years.
Graham said, “Dawn shared in that responsibility also. If Bill was called out at 2 a.m., she was basically called out at 2 a.m. in the morning. She was waiting at home, worrying. She was in it with him, no matter what time or when calls came in.”
Dawn said with a laugh that when she donned the sash Monday, “I thought my Playboy days were over. And I’ve been practicing ‘the wave, and the smile,’” she said, tongue in cheek.
Dawn is adamant that she feels undeserving of the honor. “What I do, I do because I want to, it makes me feel good, not for recognition. I’m not a person who wants to be in front of the crowd; I like to be in the background.”
The crowd along the parade route Friday evening will include her daughter, Darrin, who teaches at Rose Park Elementary in Billings; sons Will and Paul, who took over the reigns at Murdoch Oil, Inc.; daughters-in-law, Claudine (Paul) and Barbie (Will), grandsons Preston and Nicky, and a host of friends.
Dawn is looking forward to Friday’s celebration. She loves the annual celebration, to see Greybull Avenue filled with friends and neighbors, the fun and camaraderie. Her only worry? “I don’t know how I’m going to get in and out of Paul’s VW convertible.”