Murphy Tribute

One of the most common things that happens when I meet T.J.’s friends and past coworkers, is that he saw potential and had faith in people – he believed in them, and they all.

Andrew Curran worked for MOSI – now runs his own business Practical Imagination.

Kissy Simmons performs on stage nationally last performance was The Lion king

Kissy Simmons, star of Theatrical performance of The Lion King, told a story about T.J. inspiring her to go on stage for the first time at MOSI, she was so shy and her she had been singing in her church and performing through high school, but the size of the audience and the stage was overwhelming; her stage fright was immense, somehow Tl. Said the right thing…   to help her get over it and walk out on stage. –

Kristin Gilpin ran the butterfly garden at MOSI, ended up being a board member of the LEC, and designed the ecofriendly landscaping for the LEC Now a grant manager at Moffit Cancer Center… I think it was two days after a serious operation he showed up at the LEC to help install the landscaping.

I have met or known T.J. to keep in touch with many of the people he worked with throughout the years.

He is not interested in pushing an agenda, or his own interests, and will not give advice unless asked- except when it’s necessary.  

Extremely intelligent and interested in a wide variety of topics, interests – he is curious.

Never missed a meeting or an event while doing chemo.

He is observant, and finds the potential, respects, and inspires talent to reach Its FULL POTENTIAL

He is genuinely interested in helping people, and has introduced many people to cohorts they would have never met otherwise… He took me to three formal affairs, paid for my ticket, and Elizabeth took me shopping so I could get the formal wear required. 

It is funny you can see him early in the day full of dust, mud or muck depending on what crazy project he is working on… and then in a suit and bow tie- or formal tux…and be just as comfortable and enjoy them equally.

Equally dedicated and demanding of himself to do his best no matter what the project, endeavor, or status of his position in everything he is involved in.

He is interested in everything… he tries new things,

Fan of Car racing- the big ones, Daytona etc…

Participates in the Gasparilla events

Loves Disney.

Huge fan of art, ecology, science, math, business, politics, music and more…

Can Weld and repair machinery.

Jeep enthusiast

Painted with the LEC – did a great sunset.

Sculpts, does faux finishing, has created animatronic large-scale dinosaurs.




Conservation and restoration of historic buildings in Tampa

Enjoy live Theater, Museums, Galleries,

Accomplished pianist


When things go wrong.

T.J. is there, no cape, no praise, usually fixing the issue with one other person behind the scenes.

He takes it all in stride with grace and finds not just a temporary band aid but a permanent fix.

In his position at Mosi crazy things can happen, and when they did, thousands of people were possibly impacted, whether they understood that there was a problem or not.

Cultivates, nourishes, and allows for people to fail, or make mistakes.


AT the LEC

Responded to every emergency.

He has helped fix leaks, repaired our roof, cut down trees, pulled down trees, trimmed trees, helped with landscaping, helped deal with a bad water heater, filmed a commercial, filmed interviews with members, appeared on with me on Culture Vultures, helped secure funding from individuals, the county, and his own charity for the LEC.

He has supported other organizations that have worked with us through his foundation- Like the Legacy Preparatory Academy

He’s given sound and wise advice at board meetings,

He has matched funds at the Hamburger Mary’s Fundraiser

He has introduced people to the LEC.

He has lobbied for funding at the county level and at the level of his family foundation.

He got our sculpture donated, filmed the event, worked with Andrew on the special effects, and interviewed students on four different days and then edited the video about it.

As the board Treasurer he created monthly financial reports

As the board president he ran meetings efficiently, fairly and effectively.

He has donated consistently out of his own pocket.

While interviewing the LEC student’s T.J. learned how important the social connections and interactions were at the LEC- that it was about the friends they made, and the family atmosphere that people loved, as much as the art classes themselves, if not more so.


As a friend,

He has helped people move, built boat houses, towed people out of jams in his jeep club, entertained people on his boat, had epic parties for Gasparilla and the boat parade,

He is loyal, constant and will give excellent advice when asked.

He cleans up the Hillsborough river pulling trash out of the water, understanding the impact on the environment.

He shows up at birthdays, art openings, events.

Rarely asks for help or participation, but when he does, his friends are there.


As a person

Had so many stalls and issues during the process of building his house that anyone else would have thrown their hands up in the air and walked away.  He had a hand in the original design, picking out every surface, and was on site almost every day, watching, and helping the work move forward. 

He can weld, drive major equipment- he enjoys working on his father’s extensive property, from clearing.

Does not demand attention or accolades but deserves it.

Seriously considers and comes up with possible solutions and or liabilities – he looks at the whole and considers all possibilities and does research or ask for advice when needed prior to making recommendations.

He never forgets anything.

He really is interested in helping make the world a better place.

He has a smart and dry sense of humor which is obvious in his constant keen observational humor.

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