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1963 Sean Murphy 2024

Sean Murphy

July 2, 1963 — July 1, 2024

Sean Murphy 1963-2024

Lifelong Educator


On Monday, July 1, 2024, John Cooper Murphy - Sean - died unexpectedly at his Albuquerque home.

Sean was born in 1963 in Corrales, New Mexico. He was a graduate of the Albuquerque Academy's Class of 1981; he earned a BA in English from Dartmouth College in 1985 and completed a Master's at St John's College, Santa Fe, in 1994. From his first days as an English teacher to his final two decades as a head of school, he devoted his professional life to the vision and mission of independent schools across the country. He found his true home in leading Episcopal schools, where his faith and love for others found full expression. When he spoke at a school assembly or commencement, gave a eulogy, or wrote for school publications, his gift was to mix the simple and personal with the profound, leading congregations as easily as he did conversations. As a scholar, he loved quoting Aristotle and Shakespeare. As an orator, he was not afraid of tears or silence.

As an upper school administrator at Albuquerque Academy, associate head at Oldfields School in Glencoe, Maryland, then Head of School at Palmer Trinity in Miami, Florida and finally at St Andrew's in Austin, Texas, he mentored and inspired a generation of school leaders, who are now transforming schools nationwide.

Always looking for ways to serve, Sean spent many years on the board at the National Association of Episcopal Schools; he was chair of the board for the Council for Spiritual and Ethical Education; he served on the board of the Florida Independent Schools Association where he chaired the committee on Standards and Accreditation; he was elected to the Country Day Schools Headmaster's Association; and he was active in the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). After his retirement from Saint Andrew's, he continued to serve on the board of Headwaters School in Austin and had recently joined the board of St. Mark's Montessori School in Albuquerque. Sean impacted thousands of people over the course of his professional life. This is his legacy.

Sean loved The Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan, and knew every John Prine song by heart. His favorite act of hospitality was to serve up a rare ribeye steak, a side of green chile, and a homemade blueberry pie. He enjoyed the occasional Cuban cigar.

He adored his family; they retreated every summer to their lakeside cabin in Cable, Wisconsin. He was a loving husband and a steadfast father, who attended every one of Helen's cross-country races as well as all of Jackie's theater performances. He was so proud of them.

Sean is survived by his wife, Katrina Murphy, his devoted partner in every way. They would have been married 28 years on July 27. His wedding gift to her was to build a horse barn at their Albuquerque home. He pitched hay and shoveled manure, and greeted Katrina in the back alley when she returned from riding in the Bosque. He took the reins and led her through the gate. He would say this was the most important work he ever did.

In addition to Katrina, he leaves behind his daughters, Helen (24) and Jackie (23), both of Austin, Texas. He is also survived by his brother Tom Blueher and his wife Fran, his brother John Blueher and his wife Kim, and his sister Von Roberson and her husband Robby.

He is preceded in death by his two brothers Bill Blueher of Telluride and Peter Murphy, as well as his parents: his father John C. Murphy and his mother Joann Cooper Murphy.

Sean admired and supported The Gazelle Foundation, which saves lives by developing clean water sources in the small African country of Burundi. In lieu of flowers, we hope friends will consider a gift to The Gazelle Foundation through his memorial page at https://www.betterunite.com/gazellefoundation-honorthelifelegacyofseanmurphy

Sean died of complications from Type 1 Diabetes, which he had battled since childhood, so another organization he cared about was Breakthrough T1D, formerly JDRF, at https://www.breakthrought1d.org/ whose research surely had a role in extending his life.

Services for Sean will be held at St Mark's Episcopal Church, 431 Richmond Pl NE, in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Saturday, August 3, 2024, at 1:00 in the afternoon. An additional memorial service will be held at the upper school campus of St. Andrew's School in Austin (5901 Southwest Parkway, Austin, Texas) on Saturday October 19, 2024, at 11:00 A.M. Receptions to follow afterward at St. Mark's and St. Andrew's.

It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to this deeply good man.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Sean Murphy, please visit our flower store.

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