Andrew Francis Murphy, who became the first Merced County administrator in the mid-1950s, passed away peacefully on Aug. 4, surrounded by his family. He was 92.
Murphy was considered a visionary and an icon in Merced County administrative government.
“Without Andy, there would be no County Administration building on M Street,” said EJ “Almo” Lorenzi, a longtime friend of Murphy and fellow community advocate. “There would be no County Library building. There would be no UC Davis residency program at our hospital.”
Lorenzi described Murphy as a master of behind-the-scenes negotiations, and someone who knew how to work effectively with managers to get things done for the good of the county.
“He cared about the well-being of all residents,” Lorenzi said, “and he achieved lasting results when it came to county road projects and improving recreational areas at Lake Yosemite and Henderson Park in Snelling. … Andy could have easily worked as a Chief of Staff in Washington, D.C. That’s the kind of administrator he was.”
Murphy was born in San Francisco in 1926, the son of Irish immigrants, Andrew Murphy Sr. and Catherine Duffy.
He served in the Merchant Marines and the U.S. Army during World War II. After the war, he attended St. Mary’s College in Moraga and graduated with a degree in Business Administration.
Murphy first worked as a personnel officer for both Contra Costa and Fresno counties before coming to Merced in July of 1954.
In December of 1955, at the age of 29, Murphy was named the first-ever County Administrator for Merced County. He served in that position for 21 years until he retired due to health issues in July of 1976.
Murphy loved to take his young family on camping trips to Yosemite and Lake Tahoe. He also enjoyed playing golf and taking his wife Flo to casinos. But most of all, he loved spending time with family, especially his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Florence, and by his sister, Catherine “Patsy” Turcich (John). He is survived by his six children; Maureen (Bruce) Bergondy, Patricia Murphy-Pattenson, Eileen “Ike” (Terry) Blackwood, Andrew Jr. (Jane) Murphy, Tom (Christina) Murphy, Dan (Teresa) Murphy, and 14 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.
Services will be held on Aug. 10, starting at 8:30 a.m., with a Mass at 9 a.m., inside Our Lady of Mercy Church in Merced, 459 West 21st Street. Burial will follow, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., at Calvary Cemetery District, 260 W. Childs Avenue, in Merced.
Stratford Evans Merced Funeral Home is handling the funeral arrangements.