Michael Northrup Murphy passed away unexpectedly of heart failure at his Olympia home on June 11, 2014. Mike was born on March 5, 1942, in Elma, Wash., to Anne and C. Tab Murphy. Mike was a talented high school athlete and played football at Grays Harbor College and attended Central Washington University. He was an avid outdoorsman, enjoying rodeo riding, hunting, dirt bike racing and flying. He later took up golf and became an avid fly fisherman.
During his happy 25-year marriage to Cheryl Duryea, Mike, together with Cheryl, added landscaping, travel and wintering in the California desert to the things he loved. He was very proud of the waterfall and pond he created at his home, where you could often find him sipping a Bombay Sapphire martini at “Cocktail Point.”
Mike was known and loved by hundreds of people from all walks of life. He took an interest in everyone, treated everyone as a friend, and made people smile and feel special. People loved him because they knew he loved them.
Mike had a passion for his work and the people he served. Mike served as a radar man in the U.S. Navy. He was State President and National Chaplain of the Jaycees. Mike began his public career as an aide to Congressman Don Bonker, followed by many years as a Grays Harbor County Commissioner, where he worked to establish Vance Creek Park, the Grays Harbor County Fairground Pavilion and the Grays Harbor Juvenile Detention Center. He was proud that he helped preserve Grays Harbor public forests for the County’s benefit. Subsequent positions included Chair of the State Liquor Control Board, key roles in state and national political campaigns and President of the Washington Association of Counties.
For the last 18 years of his life, Mike was the Local Government Liaison for the Washington State Auditor’s Office. In that capacity, he gained the respect, trust and admiration of hundreds of local government officials who will miss his voice on their behalf.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Larry, and Larry’s wife, Mary. He is survived by his beloved wife, Cheryl Duryea; their daughter, Stephanie Duryea (Mitch Grafstein), and grandsons, Zane and Asher Grafstein of Seattle; daughter, Diana Murphy of Olympia; brothers, Charlie (Theresa) Murphy of Olympia, Brooks (Teri) Murphy of Leavenworth; Pat (Margi) Murphy of Yelm; sister, Kelly (Ray) Reyes of Mesquite, Nevada; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A private family service was held on Monday, June 16, 2014. A celebration of Mike’s life for all his many friends is planned for later this summer. In lieu of flowers, donations in Mike’s memory may be made to SafePlace, Thurston County Food Bank or any local charity.