Grand County rancher turns 100
John Murphy of Granby and Lake Havasu City, Ariz., will celebrate his 100th birthday on Aug. 20.
John’s legacy began when he was born in 1915 in the old ranch house that still stands on the land his parents purchased in 1909. It is known as the Murphy Ranch and it celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2009.
He raised cattle and hay until 1993 when he decided it was time to slow down and spend the winters in Arizona. After so many years of feeding cattle seven days a week in sub-zero temperatures, John joked that the mild Arizona winters spoiled him and he doubted he could go back to those cold Colorado winters.
As a child, John rode horseback to the one-room schoolhouse in town, fording the Fraser River before the first bridge was built. He remembers when telephone service came to the ranch in the late 1930s and early ’40s and electricity was put in at the end of World War II.
John was active in the community, serving for many years on the board of the East Grand Fire District, was president and board member of the Grand County Irrigated Land Company and sat on the board of the Middle Park Stockgrowers Association and the Soil Conservation District.
In retirement, John was able to fulfill his lifelong dream of travel by making a safari to Africa, cruising the Inside Passage to Alaska and taking a walking tour through Ireland, his country of ancestry, when he was age 87.
On the walking tour of Ireland, John had a tour participant tell him, “I’m 40 years old and I thought I was over the hill until I met you. I’d like the privilege of buying you a drink in the pub tonight because you are such an inspiration to me.”
Special wishes and love are sent to John from his many friends and from his family, daughter, Jennifer Baker of Granby; grandson, Perry Baker and wife, Pam of Hayden; son, Steve Murphy, of Granby; nephew, Leigh Murphy and wife, Deane of Fraser and Yeso, N.M.; great nephew, Andy Murphy and wife, Paige, of Fraser; great niece, Sabrina Ketcham and husband Justin of Yeso, N.M.; nephew, Carl Murphy of Castle Rock; and John’s wife, Carolyn.
John would enjoy receiving letters and cards from those who wish him well. His mailing address is: John Murphy, c/o Lake Hills Inn, 2781 Osborn Dr., Lake Havasu City, AZ 86406.
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Approaching a year after the East Troublesome Fire destroyed 366 homes, including 132 belonging to fulltime Grand County residents, there are still a few families that haven’t been able to find stable housing.