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Tomato man Francis Perry Murphy dies at 84

by | March 16, 2010
Francis Perry Murphy, 84, died peacefully March 13 at his home in Pearland, TX. The cause of death was not given.

Along with his father and brother, Mr. Murphy started O.P. Murphy Produce Co. Inc. over 60 years ago. The company is still a major factor in growing and shipping tomatoes to Texas and the rest of the nation. Its success fulfilled a lifelong goal for Mr. Murphy of establishing successful tomato businesses in Texas and California, according to a company press release.

He was born Sept. 12, 1925, in Harlingen, TX, to Oscar Perry Murphy and Ruby (Slater) Murphy. He served in the Navy during World War II.

He was an active member of First Baptist Friendswood and was also an active Gideon. His interest in politics, freedom to work and education lead him to support such organizations as The Leadership Institute, the National Right to Work Foundation, the Pacific Legal Foundation and the Heritage Foundation. In his leisure time he enjoyed fishing, hunting and playing golf.

Mr. Murphy was preceded in death by his daughter, Amy (Murphy) Smalley; his grandson Jesse Murphy; and his great-grandson David George. His survivors include his wife of 41 years, Anne (Williford) Murphy; his son Joe Murphy and his wife, Brenda, of San Antonio, TX; his son Mike Murphy and his wife, Janice, of Pearland, TX; his daughter Cathy Castorani and her husband, Sam, of Keller, TX; and his daughter Lisa Lancto and her husband, Bryon, of Cleveland, TN. He is also survived by 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

A service celebrating Mr. Murphy's life was held March 17 at First Baptist Friendswood in Friendswood, followed by graveside services at Forest Park East Cemetery in Webster, TX. Memorial gifts may be made to the Gideons.