Fifty-Seven Year Friends
Dallas Murdoch (BS ’62) returned from his mission, married his sweetheart, Joan, and then promptly enrolled at BYU. As the newlywed couple entered the chapel their first Sunday in Provo, they had no idea how their lives would change from that day forward. That Sunday Dallas and Joan first met Jim (BA ’60, MA ’62) and Corena Steel, another newlywed couple. Now, nearly 57 years later, Jim and Dallas are closer than ever.
Jim and Dallas quickly became friends over their ward’s softball team and serving in the Elder’s quorum together. Their relationship deepened through challenging schoolwork. Dallas explains, “I majored in pre-dentistry and Jim majored in pre-medical. We had classes together including organic chemistry. Jim had a better handle on [organic chemistry] and helped me pass the course.” Bonding over molecules and elements, Jim and Dallas’s friendship grew. “We became the best of friends, a friendship that has continued all through the years.”
In the years following their BYU graduation Dallas completed dental school in Washington, and Jim finished medical school in Utah. Conveniently, the families often traded medical services. Dallas recalls, “I did [Jim’s family’s] dentistry, and Jim was our family’s doctor.” Jim even performed three operations on Dallas’ wife, Joan. The families supported one another physically, and also economically. Dallas developed software which was used in his dentistry office and Jim’s medical practice. With Jim’s encouragement, Dallas worked until his software had expanded to serve 850 offices in 26 states.
Aside from work, the two families spent many vacations together. Dallas remembers, “We took our sons on fishing trips together . . . [and] for a number of years we hunted together. It was our chance to relax from the pressures of home and office.”
Their trips later included vacations to Germany, Italy, Austria, England, Scotland and Mexico. Once Jim retired from his practice, he and Corena moved to Tonga for 6 months where they offered orthopedic services to missionaries, Tongans, and even some Tongan royalty. Joan and Dallas joined them later that same year and volunteered his dental services.
After many years of marriage, Jim’s wife Corena passed away earlier this year. As Dallas reflects on their families’ tight-knit relationship he concludes, “It is wonderful when you can feel close to someone, trust them with your innermost feelings and pass through mortality knowing that you are not alone.”
-Original story Dallas Murdoch (BS '62), adapted by Madeline Buhman ('18)
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