M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

“The best thing a human being can do is to help another human being know more.”

– Charlie Munger

A man in a suit smiles at the camera.
Verne Sedlacek 1954 – 2021

The entire Murdock Trust family is heartbroken by the sudden passing of our friend and colleague Verne Sedlacek.

We were lucky to welcome Verne to the Murdock Trust family in 2015 first as a Visiting Scholar, then as one of our Senior Fellows. During his tenure, he offered us valuable perspective and helped coach a number of individuals and organizations through wise financial and investment strategy as well as best practices of nonprofit boards.

“Verne was a mentor and a friend to me in a very short time,” said Elmer Huh, Murdock Trust chief investment officer.  “We know he devoted his life to helping others flourish.  His patience, wisdom and knowledge blessed me and so many, including our Murdock Trust family.  Verne helped you believe anything was possible, encouraged you, challenged you and pushed you to be better.  He was an inspiration for us in the financial industry and his work is truly a blessing. I am going to miss you, friend.”

A hallmark of Jack Murdock’s life was a passion for investing in the capacity of others, mentoring students and entrepreneurs, and investing in ideas that helped change the landscape of technology. In every instance, Jack’s efforts helped grow fruit on the tree of another. Verne embodied this value throughout his career.

“Verne was a pioneer in investment thought and influenced countless organizations with his creative and adaptive thinking,” shared Jim Martin, Murdock Trust chief investment officer emeritus. “He had an unusual ability to think outside the box and embrace what made sense.  Verne was our MVP and secret weapon — he gave us the courage to ‘dare to be great.’ Beyond all that he was a good guy and became my friend. I am forever grateful and thankful our paths crossed.”

Beginning with his role in higher education finance and investment and culminating in his 12 years leading Commonfund, Verne’s work created opportunity for others and helped countless organizations flourish. This spirit of investment in others continued upon his retirement as he signed on to serve a variety of nonprofits, advising on investments and endowment management.

“Verne defined the idea of being a servant leader and was the perfect blend of confidence and humility,” shared Mark Pyatt, Murdock Trust investment officer. “His thoughtfulness, encouragement and wise counsel were invaluable to us in stewarding the assets of the Trust. His impact has been immeasurable and his loss will be felt deeply by all of us.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Maura, his sons, Ryan and Connor, and the entire Sedlacek family about whom Verne expressed deep love and joy.

“Respected and revered by his peers and colleagues, Verne was a quiet giant who was personally responsible for untold service to communities across the Pacific Northwest and our country,” said Steve Moore, Murdock Trust executive director. “He had a great sense of humor, a gift for thought-provoking questions, and always a word of encouragement.”

Rest in peace, Verne. We are better people from our friendship with you. We will miss you.

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