Lew Murphy 1933-2005 - Tucson News Now

Lew Murphy 1933-2005

Mark Stine KOLD News 13 Reporter
Posted: 12-2-05

"He was this incredibly gregarious, very emphatic, larger than life, almost a Hollywood version of a mayor," Former Tucson Mayor Tom Volgy said.

Lewis Murphy served as Tucson's Mayor for 16 years. "Sixteen years as Mayor of Tucson in any era is quite a stint," Dave Sitton told KOLD.

By his side on the city council for ten of those years is Tom Volgy. "We worked together, sometimes gently, often times not so gently."

Volgy and Murphy were on opposite sides politically, but there was mutual respect. "He represented Tucson to the outside world very very well. I say that as a person who didn't agree with him on just about anything," Volgy said.

"He was able to work with people in another party and he was able to move Tucson forward in that period of time," Sitton said.

Wednesday, Murphy suffered a massive heart attack that claimed his life.

"Here's a man who gave his all to represent the community to make the community the best in his own mind, and who gave willingly his time, energy and decades," Volgy told KOLD News 13.

After Murphy left his post as mayor, in honor of his dedication and service, the city named the overpass at 22nd and Kino, Murphy's Overpass. Tom Volge told us, "Anyone who would put himself through that kind of heartache for nearly two decades deserves all the accolades of a community."

Lew Murphy was an officer in the United States Air Force and attended the University of Arizona before settling in Tucson in 1951.

"Lew Murphy was so full of life and had such a strong personality, it takes days to recount just how wonderful the man truly was." Dave Sitton is a close family friend to the Murphy's. "Being a friend of Lew Murphy was strictly a privilege."

Sitton says Lew Murphy succeeded in everything he did, as an attorney, as a mayor, as a spokesman and as an advocate. "But as good as he was at those things, his family says he was an even better father. And I think that's how he wants to be remembered."

In respect of Lew's wishes, no funeral services will be held. However, plans for a celebration of Lewis Murphy's life, are in the works.

Later in his life, Lew Murphy was an advocate for the community food bank. The Murphy family requests donations be directed to the Tucson Community Food Bank or to the Saint Vincent de Paul Society.

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