Sometimes, you learn the most about someone from the silence. From what people who knew them best do not say. With Patrick Sean Murphy, they don't talk about his job much, as successful as he was.
No, those closest to him emphasize other pieces of his life. Because he did. They all say he had three loves: his family, basketball and fishing.
Summer weekends at the family cottage in Beach Haven, N.J., would find Mr. Murphy, 36, fishing on the 20-footer named Nothin' But Net. Because, though only 5- foot-9, he could drop a basketball into a net without hitting the rim.
Mr. Murphy, a vice president at Marsh & McLennan, formed basketball leagues. He was a regular at Knicks games. He even taught his daughter, Maggie, only 2 years old, to dribble (with both hands).
But he wasn't dogmatic. His son, Sean, 4, somehow wasn't charmed by basketball, so father and son would find projects. They'd fix things around the house in Millburn, N.J. They'd search Internet sites for information about trucks, Sean's passion, and Mr. Murphy would bookmark them.
'He enjoyed his success,' said his wife, Vera. 'But Patrick had a motto. He'd say he worked to live. He didn't live to work.'
(Copyright (c) 2001 by The New York Times Co. Reprinted by permission.)
This is the letter that my brother, Joe, read on my behalf at Patrick's memorial service. Patrick loved working at Marsh with many colleagues on the Placement Project team and especially with his good friends Vince Galucci and Martha Davis Mangold. Thank you all for remembering Patrick and taking good care of me and our children, Sean and Maggie.
-Vera Murphy, Patrick's wife-
Patrick and I met 12 years ago on a blind date that our friend Stu set up. It was my first, and last, blind date. It made me feel special when he told everyone who asked that as soon as he met me he knew that he would marry me.
I loved his sense of humor, the twinkle in his eye, the way he spoke with me... We shared our hopes and dreams of the future. He was so funny we laughed all the time. He had such a quick wit and saw humor in every situation. We shared many public and private jokes. I once confided to him what I dreamed my engagement ring would look like. When he gave me that ring, it was the happiest day of my life.
Life in New York was filled with friends and good times. Patrick started each day with a smile, and 'filled the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds of distance run'. He was passionate about the things he loved, like his pick-up basketball games. His motto was 'Shoot that, I would!' His 'doo-rag' and 3-point shot were welcome on courts around the city. Patrick's career was exciting to him, and he enjoyed success. But he always vowed that he 'worked to live' never 'lived to work'. We bought our beach house in Beach Haven, intending to summer there with our family, and eventually retire there. We'd spend each weekend day on our boat. He named the boat 'Nothin'But Net''. We would fish the bay and enjoy the peace of being together on the water in the sunshine.
Then came Sean, and Maggie. Sean and Patrick were pals. They would be our 'handymen' around the house, and loved grocery shopping together. Patrick was teaching him how things worked on the Internet. Sean's blue eyes flashed with excitement when Daddy would take him into town to see his favorite recycling trucks or magically fix things that seemed impossible to fix.
Maggie was pure sunshine to Patrick. He loved her sweet disposition. She loved playing ball with him, and the two of them shared a mischievious sense of adventure. Patrick was thrilled when we recently took Sean and Maggie for a fast boat ride and Maggie shrieked 'Faster, Daddy!!!', her beautiful blond hair flying in the wind. Patrick made us know every day that our family was what he loved most.
As passionate as Patrick was about his loves, he felt just as strongly about his beliefs. We would have probably argued, but I know he would have advocated the course of justice, not blind retaliation, for the unspeakable crime which stole him from us.
The pain of Patrick's loss is unbearable, but Sean and Maggie and I are comforted that we are so loved by our family and by so many friends. Patrick always loved a full house, delighting in hosting holiday dinners or serving one of his masterpiece birthday cakes to the kids. I would ask each of you to please be comfortable about sharing your stories of Patrick with Sean and Maggie, so they will grow to learn the wonderful man their Daddy was.
I am compiling these stories in a Memory Book which, I am sure, will be loved by Sean and Maggie forever. If you would like to write a story for the memory book, please send it to me