Murphy’s law: keep on giving

Above: Judge Tim Murphy presiding.

Fair. Just. Generous. Driven. These words are spoken again and again when family members recall the life of the Honorable Judge Tim Murphy.

Judge Murphy’s father was the founder of the TC Murphy Lumber Company in Wevertown. As a child, the future judge went to class in a two-room schoolhouse next to the family business. As he grew older, Murphy decided the lumber company wasn’t for him.

“He was born competitive,” his wife, Barbara Murphy, recalled. “He had a drive to make a name for himself. And he wanted to get away from the northern winters. I think coming from a small town made it more of a challenge, and Wevertown is about as small as you can get.”

He succeeded. Tim Murphy would graduate from St. Michael’s College in Vermont, Georgetown Law School, and George Washington University before joining the United State Marine Corps, where he rose to the rank of Colonel in the USMC Reserves. From there, he began his civil service at the National Labor Relations Board and by 1960, he had become an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the D.C. Court of General Session. Six years later, President Lyndon Johnson appointed Murphy to be a Federal Judge. In 1985, he took Senior Judge status and joined the Executive O‚ffice of the U.S. Attorney. He would return to D.C. Superior Court until illness forced him to retire.

His son, Ronan Chris Murphy, described his father as a “great man.”

“He was the kind of man whom even his adversaries liked and respected,” he said. “He was also far more generous and supportive of me than any father ever needed to be. I have managed to have a pretty wonderful life and accomplish a lot. I can attribute a lot of that to hard work and luck, but I do not believe that what I have been able to do with my life would have been possible without my father giving me far more advantages than any kid could rightly expect.”

That generous spirit is reflected in three charitable funds at Adirondack Foundation that support Wevertown and its surrounding community: the Judge Tim & Barbara Murphy Family Fund, the James and Pauline McSweeney Murphy Memorial Fund, and the T.C. Murphy Lumber Company Fund.

“Tim wanted very much to do something in his parents’ honor and have their name remembered,” Barbara said. “He also wanted to leave behind his own family’s legacy, but in a way that benefitted the North Country—which he did love, just not the winter.” 

“I love to see that money distributed to the  communities,” she added. “It’s nice to give those grants  to organizations that make this place so special.”

Judge Murphy passed away peacefully in his home on  Jan. 8, 2015, surrounded by family and close friends. To make a gift in his memory, please visit  contact Adirondack Foundation at (518) 523-9904.