Murphy George dies

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Longtime philanthropist and community servant Murphy George has died.

Upon receiving the news, Jack Sweeny, friend and business associate said, "Murphy shared a common bond with many other great leaders of our community in that they gave more than they took - and he has left his footprints on the heart of East Texas."

"Murphy was one of those he was a can-do kind of kind of guy. He was can-do Murphy, there were no ifs, ands or buts about it. If something needed to be done in East Texas, and Murphy George was behind it, then you knew it was going to be successful."  Longtime family friend, Trey Henderson, Pres. Angelina Hardwood

"Murphy served on the Women's Shelter of East Texas Board of Director's for 10 years.  His greatest accomplishment during his tenure was the fact that he was the absolute driving force behind the opening of the Janelle Grum Family Crisis Center, in May 2008- our 39 bed shelter for battered women and their children and administrative offices here in Angelina County.  Although the Women's Shelter has been providing lifesaving services for 30 years now, there was not an emergency domestic violence shelter in our county.  Murphy made that happen for our agency. There are no words that can do justice to describe the amount of energy, commitment, passion and drive that Murphy had for helping others in need.  Our agency has been so blessed with his service, and I know that I am a better Director because of his presence and influence in my life.  And as our "Murphy George" Conference Room quote on the wall says concerning Murphy,  "A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to others.  He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the quality of his actions and by the integrity of his intent."  Mike Jones

"Our dear friend and long standing board member will be greatly missed." Margi Preston, Executive Director, Family Crisis Center of East Texas.

George was a recipient of the 2008 Angelina Award, presented annually to someone who has displayed a lifetime of community service.

Murphy George has spent a lifetime serving his community.  He is the 2008 Angelina Award recipient, which is recognized as the community's highest honor.

The honor is bestowed on an individual who has displayed a lifetime of community service.  Murphy George is that person.  He has spent countless hours helping to raise money for community projects and groups, building programs and establishing facilities for organizations like The Boys and Girls Club, and Women's Shelter of East Texas.

The Angelina Award is not the first to celebrate George's many accomplishments, it is one of the most significant.

During the award presentation in January of this year, Temple Inland Group Vice President, Jack Sweeney introduced George by saying, "Tonight we will honor an individual for 50 years of service to our area.  He moved here in 1958 along with his wife (Bettye) and together they touched the lives of everyone in this room."  Sweeney went on to list local businessmen and fellow community servants like Arthur Temple, Ward Burke, Clifford Grum, Rufus Duncan, Joe Denman, Bubba Shands and George Henderson as examples of the quality of George's closest friends and the bond they shared, "Giving more than they took and leaving their footprints on East Texas so all of us could follow."

In accepting the award, George told the capacity crowd at the Pitser Garrison Civic Center that we have a responsibility to service our community, not for recognition or awards, but because it's a privilege to do so.

George has been named Volunteer of the Year by the Texas Chamber of Commerce, special recognition from the United States Congress for his work in helping others, the "Service Above Self Award" from Rotary International, appointed to the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse by then Governor George Bush, and most recently involved in establishing women shelters in both Lufkin and Nacogdoches.

George has also been a board member of Memorial Health System of East Texas, chairman of the Burke Center, President of Buckner Family Place, founder and past president of Boys and Girls Club of Deep East Texas, board member of the Area 7 Special Olympics, Museum of East Texas, Lufkin Economic Development partnership and appointed to the Texas Department of Commerce by then Governor Ann Richards.

Sweeny said, "The life of the person we honor is best described by the Bible verse Isaiah 6:8, "The voice of the Lord says who shall I send and who will go for us?  Tonight's honoree has always replied, "Here I am, send me."

He died sometime after 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon at Lufkin's Memorial Hospital.

Funeral services are set for 2:30 p.m. on Sunday at First Presbyterian Church in Lufkin and visitiation will be held at Gipson Funeral Home from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday.

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