Industry Pioneer Jimmy Murphy Passes

Jimmy Murphy
Photo courtesy of the Murphy family

Jimmy Murphy, co-founder of Brendan Worldwide Vacations and AmaWaterways, passed away Thursday at the age of 82. 

"Few people have touched the lives and hearts of so many people as did Jimmy," said Terry Dale, president and CEO of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA). "USTOA is so privileged to have had him as a founder and we all are beneficiaries as a result. We celebrate his extraordinary life and contributions to our industry."

"Please keep his wife, Sheila, and their children in your thoughts and prayers," Dale said.

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 traveled long distances and he gracefully guided Kristin to the altar. We all loved Jimmy Murphy and he will be missed by all of us.”

Murphy, who was born and raised in Ireland, spent nine years working at a retail travel agency in Dublin before he moved to the United States. There he was a sales executive with Aer Lingus for 11 years. Murphy co-founded Brendan Worldwide Vacations in 1969 and sold the company in 2006. 

Murphy was a major figure in the creation of the USTOA. He served as founding president and the first USTOA chairman, as well as a second term as chairman in 1992. Murphy also pen four years as national treasurer at the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA). Murphy served as chairman and co-owner of AmaWaterways until the time of his death. 

Murphy received ASTA's Allied Member of the Year Award in 1995 and was inducted into the ASTA Hall of Fame in 2003. 

Murphy is survived by his wife, Sheila Murphy, and his children, Sharon Devitt, Susan Murphy, Sean Murphy and Gary Murphy. 

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be sent to the attention of Paul K. Smith, 'The Archdiocese of LA fbo Murphy Music Fund' at Archdiocese of Los Angeles, 3424 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA  90010.