Michael Orris Murphy, “Murphy” or “Mable”, passed away peacefully surrounded by love on March 4, 2017 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, CO after complications of cancer-removal surgery.
He was born August 29, 1947 in Kosciusko County, IN to Orris Patrick Murphy and Ellen Louise Rackeweg Murphy.
The Murphy family, Mike being the oldest of four, moved from Indiana to Ozona, TX around 1950. After a historic flood there in 1954, they relocated to Blanding, UT, where his father set up his welding business during the oil boom. Murphy would call Blanding home for the majority of his life.
After graduating from high school in 1965, he enjoyed work as a car mechanic – something he did until his last days. In 1968 he married Sandra Kay (Hill) Hamilton from Cortez, CO, and became step-father to James, “Jimmy,” who was a year old, and Constance, “Connie”, just four months old.
While working in and around the Four Corners area as a mechanic and a welder, he and Sandra had two sons, Sean in 1970 and Barry in 1972.
Settling in Utah in 1973, he began work as a driller and spent several years – and many long hours – working on a drilling rig. He and Sandra had their daughter, Trena, in 1976.
He suffered an eye injury from drilling work in 1977 and never regained eyesight in his right eye.
Never being one to get upset or let things sidetrack him, he recuperated and worked in the drilling industry for another five years or so.
In 1984, he and Sandra divorced, and he continued being the best dad in the world to all five of his kids.
Murphy was an extremely curious person and was infinitely gathering information which made him a prime entrepreneur. Over the years, he established a few businesses, including a used tire shop, a rock saw business (cutting beautiful sandstone), and a concrete business in his later years.
With several projects on hand at any given time, he was mostly known as a scrap-iron junkie, trader, and “professional tinkerer”.
His father was raised in the Church of Christ, his mother Lutheran, but because of his curiosity and his independent way of thinking, he was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in January of 1992.
That fall he attended a singles event held by the LDS Church where he met Christine Christensen. They were married in 1998, and through this marriage, he had four step-children: Nick; Cassandra, “Cassie”; Michael/Amber; and Tiana.
Although Christine and Murphy never had children of their own, they raised their grandson, Christian, together for seven years.
Murphy had an uncanny way of connecting with people, loved to talk, and absorbed as much as he could about everything from everyone with whom he crossed paths.
He was a walking set of encyclopedias, well versed in the study of religion, politics, and anything else you could possibly ever think of. If he didn’t already know something, he wasn’t afraid to ask.
Murphy was a mechanical engineer in his own right – often taking things apart, rebuilding them, and building things on his own from scratch.
He was an amazing husband, dad and grandpa, always available, playful and adventurous, patient and kind, and he always tried to get his motley crew of kids to think for themselves.
He loved to read anything he could get his hands on, especially science fiction, as he was fascinated at the possibility of things. He had a quirky sense of humor, liked to pester people, and when something really tickled him he would get this beautiful twinkle in his eye, throw his head back, and give a great big belly laugh.
Oftentimes he would get this unique far-away look on his face because his mind was deep in thought, working out the details.
Anyone who has ever sat with him, usually over coffee, will fondly remember the ink pen permanently posted in his left pocket, ready at a moment’s notice to draw a diagram for you on a napkin or any other surface he could find handy.
Very well known throughout the community, this is the Murphy we all know, love, and will dearly miss. We pray God rest his soul, for he is now free to soar with the angels in heaven, and sail the high seas with the Vikings!
Murphy is survived by his wife, Christine Christensen of Blanding; his children, Sean (Heidi) Murphy of Blanding, and Trena (Urulu Yazzie) Murphy of Cortez, CO, and son-in-law Phillip (Connie, deceased) Nelson of Cortez, CO; step-children: Nick (Mindy) Christensen of Sandy, UT, Cassandra Duran of Blanding, Amber/Michael Christensen of Blanding, and Tiana (Oscar) Yedro of Madison, WI; 19 grandkids; four great-grandkids; sisters Patricia (Dana) Brown of Southington, CT, and Kathy Murphy of Blanding, two nieces and one nephew.
Murphy is preceded in death by his parents; his brother Brian Murphy; and children James Conover, Constance (Hill) Nelson, and Barry Murphy.
A memorial service was held Saturday, March 11, 2017 in the Blanding, UT South Chapel.
Murphy’s wish was to be cremated and laid to final rest at the Blanding City Cemetery.
A memorial page may be found at www.brownscremationservice.com/notices/Michael-Murphy.