Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy died in Providence Seattle Medical Center on June 26, 1997.
A column on the Opinion page of the June 27, 1997 edition of the Seattle Times beautifully and succinctly summed up his ministry as follows, “Archbishop Thomas Murphy, who died yesterday, was one part Irish politician, one part theologian and three parts pastor. Murphy was a humanitarian, a healer, a pragmatist. As the Seattle Archdiocese’s chief executive, he managed growth, dealt with the challenge of a priest shortage and championed Catholic schools. As a priest, he reached out to the sick, the hungry and disenfranchised, campaigned for humane values in public life, and gave moral leadership to Western Washington’s 353,000 Catholics and others. Stricken with leukemia, he never lost his delight in a joke well told, his ethic of hard work or his devotion to the mission of a priest. He turned his suffering into an inspiring lesson of grace, courage and spirituality. In a homily last February, Archbishop Murphy said, ‘human life is a gift of God.’ His life, and work, was a gift to this community.”