David Howard Murdock (1923 - d.) MP

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Birthplace: OH, USA
Death: (Date and location unknown)
Occupation: Businessman and Philanthropist. CEO Dole Food Company
Managed by: June Barnes (Buchanan)
Last Updated:

About David Howard Murdock

David Howard Murdock owns

  • Dole Food;
  • the real-estate development company Castle & Cook;
  • virtually the entire Hawaiian island of Lanai and its two Four Seasons golf resorts;
  • an Arabian horse-breeding farm;
  • more than a dozen golf courses, including the renowned Sherwood Country Club in Ventura County;
  • the California WellBeing Institute and Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village.
  • and assorted other companies, hotels, master-planned communities, and country clubs.

His businesses employ more than 63,000 people in 90 countries; his holdings include more than 12 million square feet of commercial developments and 200,000 acres of land. In 1961—when he was only 38 years old—a Time magazine article labeled him an “achievement addict.”

Vegetarian for over 25 years—ever since his wife died of cancer at 42 years of age, after giving birth to three sons. I tried my best to save her life. I believe her death was caused by the way we ate.

David Murdock married his 4th wife, Tracy Hayakawa, interior decorator, aged 40 in 1999. The couple Divided their time between their Bel Air home and their Ranch in Thousand Oaks, California - Ventura Farms - where they built an Orchid conservatory. They breed horses on the farm, and Tracy competes in horse shows.

Murdock grew up in the tiny town of Wayne, Ohio, (Montgomery Township) the middle child of three and the only son. He didn’t see much of his father, a traveling salesman with an inconsistent income, but was close to his mother, who took in laundry and scrubbed floors to help make ends meet. She died, from cancer, when she was just 42 and he 17.

He was living on his own at the time, having dropped out of school at 14. He lived in a room above the service station where he worked.

After finishing several years of service in the U.S. Army at age 22, he was not only penniless but also homeless, and slept for a while under a bush in a Detroit park. He would cadge free coffee from a friend employed at a greasy spoon. A man who worked for a loan company met Murdock there, learned that he was a veteran and offered to help.

With the man’s assistance, he rounded up $1,200 in loans and bought that diner. He sold it a year and a half later for $1,900, spent $75 of the profit on a car, set out for California and stopped along the way in Phoenix, where the opportunity to make money was too good to pass up. He stayed for 17 years, buying cheap land and constructing affordable houses for all the people moving South and West after World War II. “I was building as fast as I could break ground,” he says. “Bang, bang, bang: I could hardly get a house finished before it was sold.”

Houses and small office buildings were followed by larger office buildings, in Arizona and California and eventually the Midwest. To invest all the money pouring in, he bought stock, then more stock, then whole companies. He acquired control of International Mining in 1978 and in the early 1980s became the largest shareholder in Occidental Petroleum by selling the company his 18 percent interest in Iowa Beef. He took over Dole, part of a larger company, Castle & Cooke, which he acquired control of in 1985.

His partner was a raven-haired, German-born beauty who became his wife in 1967, when he was in his mid-40s and she was in her late 20s. Her name was Gabriele. Although he was married twice before, he hadn’t fathered any children. With Gabriele he had two boys, who joined a son of hers whom he adopted. He moved his base of operations from Arizona to California and, for his new family, bought the legendary Conrad Hilton estate in Beverly Hills. Soon afterward, for weekend getaways, he also bought the ranch, in Ventura County, about a 30-minute drive away.

Resources

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