Sept. 11, 1947 – Feb. 11, 2015
Peter J. Murrett III, a local attorney who worked tirelessly for his clients at the refugee center Vive La Casa, died Feb. 11 at home under hospice care from complications of leukemia. He was 67.
He was the oldest child of nine siblings and grew up in Buffalo and Lake View. He attended Canisius High School, Georgetown University and earned a law degree at the University at Buffalo in 1972.
Mr. Murrett began his legal career as a defense attorney for Cox, Barrell & Walsh, and later worked for Volgenau & Bosse doing asbestos defense work, before taking on the work of providing legal advice and advocacy for indigent clients at Vive La Casa.
Mr. Murrett distinguished himself in a case arising from the April 1979 dynamite explosion at Lancaster Stone Products.
In a dispute between the insurance companies as to who had to pay more than $1 million in property damages, he successfully argued that the claims against his client, Austin Powder, could not be enforced. His opponent in that case, Dan Kohane, still teaches the case in his class on insurance law at UB Law School.
Although he and his wife, Janice, never had children, his love of children was reflected in their role of surrogate parents and mentors to three sisters from Rwanda who were clients of Vive La Casa. He provided special help particularly to Ange Iradukunda, who went on to attend Canisius College.
He was a member of Wanakah County Club for many years, served on its board of directors and won the handicap division of the Ahern Cup Matches in 1979, 1980 and 1992.
Survivors include his wife of 31 years, the former Janice Gallivan; his father, Peter J. Jr.; two brothers, James and Thomas; and five sisters, Kathleen Fitzgerald, Patricia Krotseng, Sally Andrzejczak, Elizabeth and Maureen Isaac.
A funeral Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph Cathedral, 50 Franklin St.