Rogues Gallery Series -- Portrait #8
Edwin Serre Murphy, Jr. -- The final portrait in this series is one of my father as a young boy. The apple didn't fall far from the tree when you compare this little face with the one of his father! Known by everyone as "Ned" he was truly one of the nicest people on earth. A great raconteur, teller of jokes, an avid golfer and sailor, a talented artist, a guitar player, and a very loving husband and father. He was kind, wise, fair, and had a delicious sense of humour.
After serving in the navy during World War II, he graduated from college, married my mother, and embarked on a career with the Farrell Lines Steamship Company, where he was posted to Johannesburg, South Africa for several years. (My older sister was born there.) When I was two years old, he was working for McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, and we moved to England where he took up his post in their London office.
It is rather a mystery as to what he really did for a living. Officially, he sold advertising space for a number of McGraw-Hill publications, including Aviation Week & Space Technology. However he was constantly traveling to far-flung places which at best had tenuous connections with his job description. It is fascinating to look through his old passports and notice the places he visited "on business" during periods of change and upheaval on the world stage: Hungary in the 1950's ... Rhodesia as it was struggling to become Zimbabwe ... Belfast during the 1970's when the IRA was wreaking havoc ... He became ill with cancer in the early 1980's and one day when I was visiting him shortly before his death, I asked him if he really worked for the CIA. His answer was simultaneously forthright and intriguing: "If I did, you wouldn't want to know." I'll take him at his word.