19 DEC 2014: Jimmy Murphy, one of the founders of AmaWaterways died yesterday. Murphy was also instrumental in the creation of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA). Murphy 82, had battled cancer for the past year.
Rudi Schreiner, president and co-owner of AmaWaterways said, “I have known Jimmy Murphy for 25 years and the more I got to know him, the more I realized what a unique, true gentleman Jimmy Murphy actually was. In 2002, Jimmy, Kristin Karst and I decided to start our own river cruise line and during our 12-year partnership at AmaWaterways, our families became very close.
“When Kristin and I got married in April 2011, Jimmy took over Kristin’s ‘Father of the Bride’ role since her own father no longer travelled long distances and he gracefully guided Kristin to the altar. We all loved Jimmy Murphy and he will be missed by all of us.”
Born and raised in Ireland, Murphy spent nine years with a retail travel agency in Dublin before moving to the US. He served as a sales executive with Aer Lingus for eleven years before co-founding Irish specialist Brendan Worldwide Vacations in 1969. In 2006, Murphy sold the company after it had become one of the country’s most successful tour operators.
During his tenure at Brendan Worldwide Vacations, Murphy spent four years as national treasurer of American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA). He was one of the co-founders of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), serving as founding president and the company’s first-ever chairman, followed by a second chairman stint in 1992.
In 1995, Murphy received ASTA’s Allied Member of the Year Award and in 2003, was inducted into the ASTA Hall of Fame.
Murphy co-founded AmaWaterways in 2002 with Schreiner and Karst, noting that river cruising was “a thing of the future,” recognizing the opportunities for innovation that were to come from this rapidly growing segment of the travel industry. He served as chairman and co-owner of AmaWaterways until his death.
Murphy’s son, Gary, who is AmaWaterways’ vice president of sales, commented, “I feel blessed, for rarely do a father and son have the opportunity to share so much together. As a family, we count our blessings for our husband and father, and each other. Dad introduced us to the world, and how to live well in it.”
Murphy is survived by his wife, Sheila Murphy, and his children, Sharon Devitt, Susan Murphy, Sean Murphy and Gary Murphy.
Services will be held Monday, December 22, in California. Additional services will be held in Ireland on January 12, 2015, where Murphy will be buried.