Archive for Thursday, May 12, 2005

Who was John Murray?

May 12, 2005

John Murray was Lansing's first city attorney and stayed on for 15 years.

I first met John Murray in 1946 when he and Mrs. Tom Pulley Jr. organized the first meeting to form the Delaware Township Fire Department. John was just back home from the Navy and very handsome in his uniform. He helped Delaware Township start its water department in 1939.

John was born on a farm known as the Richardson Place west of Lansing near Boling Grange. He attended Jarbalo and Leavenworth high schools, received a degree in law from the University of Kansas and set up a legal practice with James B. Kelsey in 1938 in downtown Leavenworth. He was Leavenworth's police judge from 1943 to 1949, with two of those years serving in the Navy.

Besides his duties as lawyer for the city of Lansing, he was legal counsel for Basehor, Easton and represented two school districts. John gave legal advice to Delaware Township and also gave Lansing guidelines to incorporate. He set up the boundaries for the election of the incorporation of the city of Lansing by using the guidelines he had set up earlier for Delaware Township's sewer district.

After becoming a city, Lansing annexed Richardson, Morgantown and was heading north having Select Products on the second reading. That threw the issue before Leavenworth County commissioners, and they ruled in favor of the city of Leavenworth. At that time the city limits of Leavenworth was Limit Street. All of this action prompted Leavenworth to annex south to Eisenhower Road with the exception of the Co-Op, which chose to be in Lansing.

Another big project for John was working with the Department of Transportation on relocating water lines before the widening of U.S. Highway 73 through Lansing.

Being on the first and third City Councils, I sat in on many meetings with John, and he was always cool, calm and collected while working to bring Lansing and Delaware Township through our years of "growing pains."

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