Murray Rowe

September 2, 1932 - November 5, 2020

Visitation: Visitation, with family present, will be Sunday, from 3-8 p.m. at Canton Lutheran Church. Mask use and social distancing will be required.

Service: Funeral services will begin at 2:00 p.m., Monday, November 9, 2020 at Canton Lutheran Church.   Mask use and social distancing will be required.

Service: Livestream link

      Murray Asher Rowe, a lifelong resident of Canton S.D., was a man of deep faith who loved Jesus. He was a devoted son, husband, father, grand and great grandfather, uncle, friend, employer, leader, community advocate, C-Hawk supporter, competitor, aviator, inventor, and entrepreneur. He lived his life loving his family, community and church and passed away at Ava’s House (hospice) on November 5, 2020.

        Murray’s legacy lives on through his beloved wife of 62 years, Helen (Long) Rowe and their children, Brian (Kari) Rowe, Leah (John) Peterson and Kevin (Tonya) Rowe. Murray was adored by his grandchildren, Elli and Nora Rowe, Kiersten (Nick) Meyer, Anders Peterson, Jake (Kalyn) Peterson, Karryn Peterson, Christian Roeder, Asher, Olivia, and Isaac Rowe. Murray’s great grandchildren are Ben, Adeline and Coraline Meyer and Maine Peterson.

        Murray was born September 2, 1932 to Ernest and Iva (Anderson) Rowe. He grew up in Canton, S.D. and graduated from Canton High School in 1950. He attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois for three years and then returned to S.D., graduating from the University of South Dakota in 1954 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

        In 1954 Murray was drafted into the U.S. Army and served as a specialist in electronics. He was one of two men from his unit selected to attend a special radar school in Fort Monmouth, NJ.

        Upon discharge from the Army in 1956, Murray returned to Canton to join the family business at Canton Block and Tile Company. After meeting on a blind date, he married the love of his life, Helen Long, on August 11, 1958 in Rock Valley, IA.  In 1962, Murray formed Bid-Well Corp. after entering a partnership with S.P. (Tex) Bidwell. This company manufactures concrete paving machines and continues to pave bridges, airports and canals in over 40 countries, including paving the underwater Chunnel between England and France in 1994. Murray was also very proud to be a founding member of The Ramkota Companies in 1965, along with the Kelly Inns Ltd. and Regency Hotel Management company.

        Murray’s entrepreneurship and ingenuity did not go unnoticed. In 2004, he was honored in Washington, D.C. as one of America’s Top 100 Private Sector Transportation Design and Construction Professionals of the 20th Century. To mark this occasion and Murray’s accomplishments, Governor Mike Rounds proclaimed it “Murray Rowe Day” in South Dakota. In 2005, Murray was also inducted into the South Dakota Transportation Hall of Honor in Pierre, S.D., and in 2006 he was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in Chamberlain, S.D.

        After many years at the helm of Canton Block and Tile Co. and Bid-Well Corp., it was a common site to see individuals approach Murray, shake his hand, and tell him what an honor it was to work with him.

Beyond business, the Canton community was a big part of Murray’s life. Throughout the years, he was a member of the Canton Rotary Club, Canton Airport Board, American Legion, Sons of Norway, Deacon, President and Sunday school teacher at Canton Lutheran Church. He also served as a member of the cabinet committee of the Augustana Fellows. In 2013, Murray was honored as the Canton Chamber Citizen of the Year. We often hear about the Random Acts of Kindness movement, Murray and Helen Rowe could be the face of that movement, always willing to offer a helping hand.

        A man of many talents, Murray had a passion for playing the piano. He was an avid snow and water skier, he loved golf, tennis and hunting. Another passion of Murray’s was flying. He received his private pilot’s license in 1965. Although he traveled the world, his favorite family vacation times were the annual summer week spent at Dickerson’s Lake Florida Resort in Minnesota.

        Any game night, no matter what the sport or activity, Murray could be found watching the C-Hawks. He not only watched his own children and grandchildren perform for Canton High School, he proudly cheered for all Canton athletes and performers. He will always be remembered as a huge C-Hawk Booster.

        Although dementia impaired his memory in recent years, Murray’s legacy will be remembered for years to come. In 1999 when he retired as the President of Bid-Well, Murray said his professional career was built on a simple foundation, “We sold success. We guaranteed it. Our handshake was our bond.” In his professional and personal life, Murray always stayed true to his word.

        Grateful for having shared his life are the above mentioned family. Other loved ones include: sister-in-Law Barbara Anderson, brother-in-law Charles Moeller, nephew Dave (Laurann) Saunders, niece Laurie Saunders. Nephews: Dan (Kris) Anderson, Tom (Susan) Anderson, Paul (Sherry) Anderson, Mark (Jenine) Anderson, Mark (Judi Fleischaker) Alsager, Bill (Rebecca) Moeller, Rob (Nichole) Moeller. Nieces: Mary Kay (Gene Wedekemper) Anderson, Barbara (Kevin) McElroy, Beth Moeller Sharma and many great nieces and nephews.

        Preceding him in death: parents, Ernie and Iva Rowe, sister Jacklyn Rowe Fremming, brother-in-laws Warren (Speck) Anderson and M.O. Alsager, sister-in-laws Mary Alice Alsager and Sandra Long Moeller.

        Funeral services will begin at 2:00 p.m., Monday, November 9, 2020 at Canton Lutheran Church.  Visitation, with family present, will be Sunday, from 3-8 p.m. at Canton Lutheran Church.  Mask use and social distancing will be required.  Memorials will be directed towards the Murray and Helen Rowe Scholarship Fund. This will be established for a high school senior boy and girl from Canton High School.  A link to the livestream of Murray’s service can be found at

       Murray’s family would love for you to share your favorite memory of Murray by leaving a condolence on the website or mailing a card to Anderson Funeral Home  P.O. Box 36 Canton, SD 57013.

Leave a Condolence
Your email address will not be published.

36 messages have been left

  1. Jon Thorburn on November 5, 2020 said:

    Sorry to see of Murray’s passing. He is now at peace. A very wonderful man. May the Love and Peace of the Lord be with you all now and always.

  2. Claude Mullinix on November 5, 2020 said:

    I worked for Murray back in my younger days. I knew his sister Jackie, and knew his nephew
    Dave S. very well. Murray was a great guy that did alot for countless organizations.

  3. Mary Ellen Lantis on November 6, 2020 said:

    To The Rowe Family,
    Thinking of you and remembering our ski trip to Colorado. What fond memories.
    Peace be with you,
    Mary Ellen Lantis and Family

  4. Tanna Gries on November 6, 2020 said:

    We are so very sorry to hear of Murray’s passing. He has always been the nicest person and both of our father’s thought highly of him also. Peace to his family.
    Todd and Tanna (Hoover) Gries

    1. Francis and Carol McEntee on November 7, 2020 said:

      So sorry for your loss of Murry. Prayers to all.

  5. Linda Detlie on November 7, 2020 said:

    I feel joy through my tears for our brother, Murray, who is whole again, restored even better than ever, with Jesus present, and reunited with so many loved ones. I bet there’s a line forming in heaven with each person he loved and helped on earth embracing him. When I think about what Murray was able to accomplish in just 88 years here, I wonder what he can get done in eternity. We are going to be amazed at what he can accomplish to serve and love our Savior when he has no limitations.

  6. Tim Bjorneberg on November 7, 2020 said:

    So sorry to hear of Murray’s passing. However, his legacy definitely lives on. When I pass every Bid-Well paving machine, I remember him and always will. I was so glad to see him honored in D.C. and in the South Dakota Transportation Hall of Honor. So deserved as the world is a better place for his ingenuity and being a great man. May God Bless!

  7. Francis and Carol McEntee on November 7, 2020 said:

    So sorry for your loss of Murry. Prayers to all.

  8. John Detlie on November 7, 2020 said:

    Murray Rowe will always be one of the finest men I’ve ever known. I’m mourning and rejoicing all at once. My heart and my thoughts are with Helen, Brian, Kevin, Leah, and all the rest of his amazing family. Love you guys.

    John Detlie

  9. Evy Buckingham on November 7, 2020 said:

    So sorry to hear about Murray – He is at peace now. My thoughts are with his family & especially you Helen. You have been such a srong person & an inspiration to so many people!

  10. Scott Bieber on November 7, 2020 said:

    This glowing tribute still doesn’t really show how great a person Murray was on earth and he’s the kind that will be greatly missed. I had the privilege of working with Murray for almost 4 decades and he was one of the most positive, inspiring people I’ve ever met. My deepest sympathy to Helen and Murray’s children and grandchildren!

  11. Glenn Larson on November 7, 2020 said:

    Sorry to read about Murray.’s passing. We got to know each other during HS as we competed on the Basketball court. Of course Canton always beat the little guys from Hudson. I remember meeting the two of you somewhere in the past. My brother, Lowell and his wife Anabel lived in Canton. My cousin Ron Larson & his wife Angie have, or had, a store there. My niece, Faith Larson Louis told me about the news but I read the Argus Leader on line and did see the obit. I also saw the notice about Darly, I believe your cousin. You used to visit your grandparents, just across the Sioux River bridge east of Hudson. GOD BLESS you and yours.

  12. Darryl Olson on November 7, 2020 said:

    To the Rowe family

    I am very sorry for your loss.

    I met Murray when I was a teenager working with my Dad, Lesley Olson, to repair electrical
    equipment at the “Tile Plant”, Canton Block and Tile Company. I remember
    him as a gracious, kind man.

  13. Loren Wallem on November 8, 2020 said:

    To Helen and the Rowe family. So sorry for your lose of Murray. He was a very thoughtful and giving person. Always had a few minutes to chat even when he was busy, even when he didn’t know you that well. He will be missed by all of you and many of the community. He did a lot for his family, his employees and his many friends. So sorry.

  14. Laurann Saunders on November 8, 2020 said:

    I am so sorry AuntL Helen that I could not be there for uncle Murray I will miss him very much he was always so very very kind to me he was the best man in our wedding my family absolutely loved him they send you their best wishes at this time I will always think of him,miss him and Aunt Helen you’re the best.

  15. Rich Beitzel on November 8, 2020 said:

    We will miss you Murray! I got to hang out with Murray at a lot of C-Hawk events and I loved talking with him. Later on I would laugh when I saw Helen walk in withnout him so I would go check on him and he would be out in the lobby just talking to everyone so I would help him find Helen. One wrestling state tourney he was close by and not sure if you knew but oh boy he could yell loud like scare you loud and he once looked over at me and asked me if he was to loud which I said you give it hell Murray! Thanks for always sharing Murray I have truly enjoyed it. God Bless Murray family.

  16. Vickie Metli Douthit on November 8, 2020 said:

    I knew Murray as a kind, soft spoken man that a smile could quickly nudge us to easily know, he was a wonderful human being. God Bless you and your family Helen. HIs celebration of life is so well deserved!

  17. Susan Anderson on November 8, 2020 said:

    So sorry for your loss. Hang on to the memories and let them be a blessing
    God bless you all
    Leon and Susan Anderson

  18. Dick and Kay Casanova on November 8, 2020 said:

    Our deepest sympathy, Helen and family. on the loss of Murray. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    God’s Blessings Always,
    Dick and Kay Casanova

  19. Ardis Jacobson and Brian Jacobson on November 8, 2020 said:

    Helen and family,
    Mom (Ardis) and I (Brian) convey our most heartfelt sympathy on Murray’s passing.
    We witnessed and admired Murray’s love for his family at our extended Detlie family gatherings.
    Cherish all the wonderful memories!

    Ardis & Brian Jacobson

  20. Dan & Kris Anderson on November 8, 2020 said:

    Dear Helen & Family,
    We are so sorry to hear the news about Murray. He will be greatly missed by so many people. We also rejoice that he is with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I have wonderful memories of this great man. When Murray walked into a room, the whole room would smile. He was an Energy Giver as author, Jon Gordon, would describe. The room would light up. I remember him sitting down at the piano, wiggle his fingers to warm up, and play the “Boogie Woogie.” I can just hear his voice. As one of the older nephews, I was a ringbearer at your wedding. I worked for Murray for many summers at Canton Concrete. I remember a few minutes after 9:00am, a green station wagon with wood type side panels came rolling down the hill because Murray wanted to get in the pinochle game at break time. Murray taught life lessons. I remember him saying this job will teach you how to work. I believe when he said that, I was probably rolling my eyes, but he was right! I learned how to weld, drive ready mix trucks, and to be a stripper. I believe that Brian would understand being a stripper in the steam room! I also learned to shovel and understood that I could not stop, no matter how exhausted, because we had to keep up. We learned how to work! Thank you, Murray, for the life lessons! Love to you, Helen, and your family. We are praying with you and rejoicing in the life of Murray!
    Love, Dan & Kris Anderson and Family

  21. Bill and Barb Anderson on November 8, 2020 said:

    Murray was always a brilliant and caring man and a suitable choice for my irrepressible first cousin, Helen. God bless you all. Bill Anderson and family of Omaha NE

  22. Tore Detlie on November 8, 2020 said:

    Well all good things will come to an end and what a good thing Murray represented for us all. Sitting now with the news of his passing reflecting on my many wonderful memories of him during the years I had the privilege of knowing him. Coming over her in 1975 with my father visiting the American side of the Detlie family was a fantastic experience for both of us as we were welcomed with open arms by all our wonderful relatives here. Helen and Murray were very instrumental in my opportunity and decision to return afterwards to attend Augustana College. Not to diminish the great support I received from all of my American relatives it did not take long before Helen and Murray became very central in my life here. The wonderful big White House in Canton became my home away from home together with Brian, Lea and Kevin. A house were both front and back door were always open, people came and went like it was a public place for all, the small messy kitchen which was a never ending source of great food, love and laughter for all who passed through their doors. You ask for memories of Murray and I could go on for pages. Some that flashes by sitting here writing this note to the celebration of Murray’s life are;
    – Arriving back to Augustana to start my College, Helen and Murray called me up to invite me to their home for dinner. Murray came to pick me up in his plane, first time ever in a small plane like that for me he flew over Sioux Falls and neighboring towns before landing in Canton. What an experience!!
    – Every November 7th, my birthday, I was invited to the White House in Canton for a splendid birthday dinner and cake together with all of my Detlie relatives. Murray sitting at the end of the table always said with a big smile on his face, “ I go broke every November 7th 😂.”
    – He always loved my cars, Oldsmobile, Cadillac, Saab, Corvette, Jaguars, Volvo and Audies. Even when his health and mind started to decline he always asked me “What are you driving now Tore??”.
    – One time they picked me up at Augustana to go out to dinner and Helen had a lot to say including instructions for Murray when we got to the restaurant. Helen went in while I stayed in the car with Murray trying to find a parking spot, and he was driving quite briskly mumbling “That woman can sometimes drive me crazy, but I love her more than anything in this world, hope you are lucky to fine somebody like her!” That was my best marriage counseling and I did find someone like Helen in my dear Beth who also can drive me crazy at times, but I frequently recall Murray’s statement and know that we were both very lucky men with the greatest partners in life.
    – When it came time to marry my dear Beth, I could not think of any better “Best Man” for me than Murray who I had come to love and respect like everybody around him.
    – He could never stop talking about the week I drove them around to see Norway and all of his and Helen’s family. There were times on the west coast when I had to drive a little fast to make some of the ferries, and I remember his enthusiasm over my driving on these narrow curvy roads, while Helen in the back seat was completely quiet!!! When we made it in time for the ferry I recall his loud laughter saying “ You made it, fantastic driving Tore!!” at the same time as I heard a quiet sigh of relief from the backseat 😂❤️. Lots of great memories from that trip and their time with my family in Norway.

    I could go on and on with all the great stories of Murray, but I am now at peace knowing he is with our savior and left us many great memories for us to never forget him and the role model he played for so many of us. Thank you Murray and Helen for all you have done for me and my family. I am very sad I can not be at his funeral because of this Covid virus which has caused so much disturbance in our life.

    God bless you all, we will watch the funeral on line.
    Tore and Beth Detlie

  23. Mike Paulson on November 9, 2020 said:

    Prayers to all of Murray’s family.
    Helen and Murray became part of our family through their son Brian, marrying our niece Kari,
    They made a warm, loving, and welcome impact on our entire family. No one was a stranger, just a friend they hadn’t met yet. I always looked forward to visiting with them.
    Murray will be missed by everyone he met.
    Blessings Helen, and family.

  24. Jeffrey and JoDene Thress on November 9, 2020 said:

    Great memories of the Vegas show we were lucky to be able to share with Murray and Helen. All the best for Helen and family. Peaceful rest as Valhalla greats such a wonderful soul. God Bless

  25. Audrey abbott on November 9, 2020 said:

    Helen, Leah and family,
    So sorry to hear of Murray’s passing. My memories are seeing him and Helen at many sport events. When you see him he always had a warm smile and friendly Hello! I believe the last time I seen him was at a Summit League basketball game a few years ago.
    He has left wonderful memories within the Canton Community with so many people and contributed so much.
    May god give you comfort in the coming days & know that heaven received a incredible person and special guardian angel to watch over all of you.

  26. Britt Tove and Jon Ivar Breen on November 9, 2020 said:

    Our condolences to the family.
    We had a wonderful time with Helen and Murray on our trip to USA in 2010.

    Love Britt Tove and Jon Ivar Breen, Oppdal, Norway

  27. Craig and Patty Dittberner on November 9, 2020 said:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Helen and family. We are glad to have known our “cousin” and know he will be missed in the Canton community.

  28. Signe Bunkers O'Connor on November 9, 2020 said:

    Dear Helen and family
    I am so sorry to hear of Murray’s passing. He will truly be missed. I always looked forward to coming home to Canton as I always new I would run into Murray. He was the most kind man and I always felt so comfortable talking to him as he made a person feel as ease. May God Bless and grant you peace to you and your family during these difficult times.

  29. Deb Hanna on November 11, 2020 said:

    Dear Helen and family,

    I spent the beginning of 1986 at your family’s home welcome by Helen and Murray as a student teacher in the Canton School District. Helen and I had met at an EMT class in Canton and she so graciously invited me to live in your family home for that winter semester. I was welcomed as a member of the family and I will never forget the gracious hospitality extended to me.

    My sincere condolences to you all as you grieve the loss of Murray. I will never forget the warm hospitality of the Rowe family.

  30. Kathy and Jerry Keiser on November 11, 2020 said:

    Sorry for the loss of Murray–what a great man!!

  31. MARY HUDSON on November 11, 2020 said:

    Canton produced an outstanding man, proof it’s a good place to live and spend you life. The obituary, where you list all of Murray’s accomplishments, is a testament to that! Helen, we do not know your family well, but we have had a few memorable contacts. Since Mike and I both went to Canton High School, we have always claimed it as our home town. One time was when we were traveling to Newport, Rhode Island for a wedding, we were stopped near Newport for road construction, and when looking out our side car window, and there it was, a piece of road equipment that said “Bidwell, Canton, SD” It made us feel very proud of our little town of Canton, SD, and then when our youngest son, Brett, graduated with a physical therapy degree from USD, Leah was asked to speak (and Helen, you were with her) to a little gathering they held for him and his fellow graduating students, then when Mike came to Canton as you postmaster for a few years, and you were always so welcoming to him, and every time Mike and I saw you anywhere, you were always so friendly, more proof Canton produces good people. How lucky for you and Murray to have 62 plus years to spend together. We know too, now at this time in your life, God will watch over you and your family. (as will Murray)

  32. Ron Amundson on November 11, 2020 said:

    Dear Helen,

    I am sorry to hear about the loss of Murray. My best wishes.

    Ron Amundson
    Orinda, CA

  33. Helen Sexton on November 12, 2020 said:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Murray will always be with you. Remember all the fun and laughter and lessons learned. He was a great man.

    Loving thoughts and memories
    Helen Sexton
    Lisa Robinson
    Wayne Pedersen

  34. Dar and Lavonne (Bunnie) Dahl on November 13, 2020 said:

    Our thoughts and prayers have been with the Rowe family since Murray’s passing. I was born and reared on a farm south of Canton but became familiar with the Rowes when my sons and I moved into Canton years later, predominantly through church and sports. Because of my employment at the Argus Leader, Murray and I shared a friendship with one of my best friends there, John Egan. He and John were tennis and handball players, and shared the love of all sports in general. Along with all of the many, many talents of Murray’s, another included writing poetry. When John Egan retired, Murray shared a beautiful poem about John that I was able to type for publication in the paper. He was truly one of a kind. God bless his memory.

  35. Rachel (Fait) Slobotski on December 24, 2020 said:

    I was so sad to see Murray’s name on the second cross in the picture of the Canton Good Samaritan home. He and Helen both have come to represent Canton to me, as their kind presence at the funerals of several of my family members was unexpected and so pleasant. They have always been so connected with many of us, humble and caring at a personal level.

    My condolences to my classmate Brian, and Leah and Kevin and the rest of the family as well.