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Published: Thursday, 8/26/2004

Mortgage firm owner pushed downtown home for Hens

Thomas Redding Murnen, who with his father and brothers operated a local mortgage company for 42 years and who lobbied local officials for decades to build a downtown stadium for the Toledo Mud Hens, died Tuesday in the Hospice of Northwest Ohio. He was 69.

He died of a "fast-growing" lymphoma, said a son, Tim.

Mr. Murnen graduated in 1952 from Central Catholic High School and briefly attended Marquette University in Milwaukee before going to work at the family business, Murnen's Mortgage Investors Corp., which the younger Mr. Murnen said handled residential loans almost exclusively until it closed in 1995.

From then until his death, he was affiliated with DiSalle Realty as a real estate agent.

Mr. Murnen counted Msgr. Jerome Schmidt as a mentor and spiritual adviser back to his high school days, son Tim said, and it was at the monsignor's urging that Mr. Murnen became active in the community.

"He just had a personal interest" in promoting downtown Toledo's welfare, said Joe Colturi, a senior vice president at Port Lawrence Title & Trust, with whom Mr. Murnen co-chaired the dedication of Portside Festival Marketplace, a downtown mall that opened in 1984.

"Tom would find a way to get involved," Mr. Colturi said. "He made a difference. He left his mark big-time on this town."

Mr. Murnen's most enduring crusade, Mr. Colturi said, was to move the Mud Hens downtown from Skeldon Stadium in Maumee, an idea he broached as early as 1962.

Surviving are his wife, the former Mary Keogh, whom he married in 1958; sons, Peter, Timothy, and David; daughters, Michele Rice and Ellyn Raftery; brothers, Jack, Raymond, and Richard; sister, Mary Alice Murnen, and nine grandchildren.

The body will be in the Ansberg-West Funeral Home after 2 p.m. tomorrow, with a recitation of the Rosary at 7:30 p.m. Services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday in Christ the King Church.

The family suggests tributes to the Sisters of St. Ursula, Central Catholic High School, or the American Cancer Society.



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