John Neil Murphy, engineer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, inherited life eternal on November 14, 2018. He was born in Harlingen, Texas April 7, 1934 and died at his residence. He was 84 years old.
Neil is survived by his wife Mira Ascencio Young Murphy, by three sons John (Carol) Murphy of Zihuatanejo Mexico, Brian (Nancy) Murphy of New Smyrna Beach, Florida and Kyle (Gabriella) Murphy of Nexpa, Mexico, by one grandson Patrick Murphy, one granddaughter Vittoria M. Vernocchi, by one stepson Erick Hieke, and by numerous nieces and nephews. He is also survived by former wives Patty Warren Ellis and Gerri Merrick.
He was predeceased by his parents Dan W. and Elizabeth (Sunny) Regent Murphy, his brother Dan W. Murphy, Jr., and his infant son Patrick Warren Murphy.
Neil was educated in Harlingen schools and graduated from the University of Texas with honors with a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1957. His fraternity was Sigma Chi. His primary occupation was with Coastal Engineering Inc. of San Benito, Texas for over fifty years as owner, President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board. Under his leadership, Coastal became one of the few hundred largest mechanical contractors in the USA. He also owned and managed Coastal Mechanical Services, Sun Valley Motor Hotel, JNM’s Coastal Enterprises, JNM Inc., real estate ventures, his investment portfolio, and numerous other businesses. He was a member of the U.S. Army active reserves for twelve years attaining the rank of Captain when he retired.
He was registered professional engineer in Texas, held the first fire sprinkler license ever issued in Texas, held an air conditioning contractor’s license, master electricians license, and was a member of numerous technical societies including being one of the founders and the second president of the Texas Fire Sprinkler Contractors Association of Texas.
Neil’s primary area of service above self was through the Harlingen Rotary Club. He held many offices there including President, member of the Endowment Board, Paul Harris Fellow, Major Donor, and was the recipient of various honors including Rotarian of the Year and District Service Award. He was the President who first inducted women into the Harlingen Rotary Club. For the Rotary Foundation he administered Paul Harris Fellowship wheels for many years and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote world peace through the work of the foundation.
Neil was a born again, Spirit filled Christian. He had been active in St. Albans Harlingen, All Saints San Benito, and St. Andrews Port Isabel Episcopal Churches. In those churches, he had served as Vestryman, Senior Warden, Lay Reader, Chalice Bearer, Homilist, and Teacher. In the Episcopal Church, he was the lay founder of the International Happening Movement (A teenage renewal movement) and served as its first International Rector. He was active in Full Gospel Churches and was a Life Member of the International Order of St. Luke the Physician. In 1985, he set the goal of personally contributing one million dollars into the Kingdom of God and accomplished that goal during the next eight years. Thereafter he said, “I didn’t stop giving, I just stopped keeping count.
Neil’s civic service included being chairman of the Harlingen Museum Board, a member of the Small Business Advisory Council, JCs, Chamber of Commerce, and helping to found the Valley Better Business Bureau. He served on the advisory council to the Texas State Fire Marshal. He was an active supporter of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. He was a former Precinct Chairman and State Convention delegate for the Republican Party and served as congressional district chairman of the Pat Robertson presidential campaign.
His avocations included hunting, fishing, trapping, photography, travel, sailing, scuba diving, underwater demolition, skiing, and working on his Rancho Monteagua especially preserving an area of native brush and raising ducks, geese, guineas, and peacocks there.
Visitation will be on Monday, November 19th from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with a Rosary at 7 p.m. at the funeral home.
Funeral service will be Tuesday, November 20th at 2:00 p.m. at St. Albans Episcopal Church in Harlingen. Interment to follow at Mont Meta Memorial Park in San Benito.
Memorial donations may be made to the Harlingen Area Rotary Endowment Fund, P.O. Box 530098, Harlingen, Texas 78553.