Memorable Manitobans: Paul Murphy (?-2002)
Born at Amherst, Nova Scotia, he captained the Amherst St. Pats who dominated Maritime junior baseball and hockey in the mid-1930s. He subsequently played for the St. John Beavers and attended the Boston Bruins training camp. When the Second World War started he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and in 1940 received his wings in the first graduation class at Dauphin, Manitoba. He served as a fighter pilot for five years, flying spitfires in Britain with the RCAF and Hurricanes with the Royal Air Force in the Western Desert. While travelling to England from the Desert in 1943, he was one of the few survivors from the Empress of Canada torpedoing. He returned to Canada in 1944 as an instructor in Greenwood and Bagotville. Following the war he attended university at St. Francois Xavier and Dalhousie.
He returned to Winnipeg in 1952 when he was hired in the dual capacity of Executive Director of the Manitoba Wildlife Federation and Managing Editor of Wildlife Crusader. He served in the jobs for 30 years. Under his guidance, the Federation grew to 130 affiliates from Churchill to the US border. Among his accomplishments was the founding of the Canadian Wildlife Federation and he accepted their first Honourable Life Membership in 1970. Wildlife Crusader flourished under his direction and he received recognition from St. Boniface, Nova Scotia, Minnesota, Arizona, Kentucky, Nebraska and North American Sportswriters for his conservation editorials.
He was given a Golden Boy Award in 1968 for meritorious service to Manitoba. In 1983, he was made a Scout in the Order of the Buffalo Hunt. He had a lifelong interest in horse racing and served as Commissioner on the Manitoba Racing Commission. He also served on the Manitoba Water Commission, a member of the Board of the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation (10 years), and for decades on the executive at FortWhyte Alive. In 1999 his memoirs A Gambler in War and Peace were published.
He died on 13 August 2002.
“10 Manitobans get Golden Boy Awards,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 November 1968.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 17 August 2002, page C3.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 13 June 2021