On January 18, 2019, Gary Edwin Murphy of Wolf Creek, MT went home to be with his savior Jesus Christ. Gary was born March 10, 1936, the second child of Arthur and Mabel Murphy. His grandfather William Reinig first came to Helena to work in his uncle’s store and later purchased the ranch in the Dearborn area where Gary grew up. As a young child he attended the small Dearborn Schoolhouse which held classes only in spring, summer and fall since traveling in the winter was too difficult. Gary attended high school in Helena and then majored in Industrial Arts at what is now Montana State University in Bozeman. Throughout high school and college Gary remained active in 4-H and was later a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. After graduating from college, Gary joined the Army and liked the idea of earning some extra hazardous-pay so he joined the 82nd Airborne Division based out of Fort Benning, Georgia.
Shortly after leaving the army he met and soon married Betty Lou Colarchick of Raynesford, MT. They were married on August 28, 1960. Gary took his bride back to the ranch that he called home and they proceeded to build a life together. While in the military Gary bought a ’57 Chevy which he cherished, however in 1967 he sold his car in order to send Betty back to college which he said was the best life insurance policy money could buy. Three children were born to Gary and Betty, Kymn (Murphy) Van Dyken in 1961, Paige (Murphy) Hiebert in 1964 and Max Murphy in 1969. With the help of his wife, Gary took over operation of the ranch in 1964 and continued to operate the place to his final days.
He worked hard to make the ranch profitable, but always took the time to care for what really mattered in his life, the people. Gary served as a clerk for the Dearborn School District until its closure, an Election Judge for 40-plus years, managed the Dearborn Cemetery, served on the Soil Conservation District and Farm Credit Agency. Gary also served on the Helena School Board for 8 years with Gene Donaldson, Gene Rice, Ed Prebil, William Leaphart Sr. and Penny Bullock.
One of Gary’s passions throughout his life was learning and then sharing local Montana history. Peter Burggraff, Anita Wilson and Gary wrote a book about the history of homesteaders in the Wolf Creek and Dearborn area. They culminated the book with a narrated tour that filled two greyhound buses with a luncheon at the Blacktail Ranch.
He is remembered as a loving husband, caring father, instructing grandfather, generous neighbor and most importantly as a follower of Jesus Christ. Gary lived a life as a servant whenever he saw the opportunity. He finished strong and is now worshipping his savior face to face!
Gary is survived by his wife Betty. Sister Joyce (Murphy) Jackson. Children: Kymn (Murphy) Van Dyken, Paige (Murphy) Hiebert and Max Murphy. Grandchildren: Kara (Van Dyken) Woodworth, Meg (Van Dyken) Gray, Skyler Van Dyken, Conner Van Dyken, Armand Hiebert and Jadon Hiebert. Great grandchildren: Arthur, Solomon and Evelyn Woodworth; Matthew, Daniel and Katherine Gray.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, January 26, at 11:00 a.m. at Last Chance Chapel, 6240 Raven Rd, Helena, MT 59602. Donations in honor of Gary can be made to Last Chance Chapel or Dearborn Cemetery, 5405 MT Highway 434, Wolf Creek, MT 59648.