By: Tom Roeder March 11, 2018
Red Cross recognition as the region’s top humanitarian for 2018 adds to a pile of plaudits earned by Colorado Springs developer and philanthropist Chuck Murphy.
The scion of Murphy Constructors, he’s long been renowned for his support of the arts and local charities. He’s also been a powerful benefactor in local politics. The Hometown Hero award from the American Red Cross of Southeastern Colorado sums up that work and more.
The charity said the honor recognizes Murphy’s “leadership and dedication to the community of Colorado Springs that have made a positive and lasting contribution.”
Friend Jay Cimino said Murphy wears a countless number of hats in the Pikes Peak region.
“My good friend Chuck Murphy is special in the community because he is compassionate, an excellent businessman, has a great sense of humor, genuinely cares about other people, philanthropic in the community and is loved by all, plus he has the governor’s phone number,” Cimino said.
Related: ‘Operation P.J.’ earns 14-year-old Colorado Springs Hometown Hero Youth award
Since starting in business here in the 1960s, Murphy has volunteered his time on the boards of Pikes Peak Hospice, Pikes Peak Mental Health, Silver Key, Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, The Fine Arts Center, Goodwill, the Downtown Business Improvement District, the Julie Penrose Center, Pikes Peak Highway Advisory Board, the Downtown Partnership, the Colorado Springs Planning Department and the Historic Preservation Alliance.
He’s served as regent for his alma mater, Regis University, and a member of the Colorado Economic Commission.
The awards have come like a blizzard. The Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce has named him “business citizen of the year” – the group’s top honor. The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs gave Murphy the school’s lifetime entrepreneurship award. He’s also been named the town’s “business leader in arts.”
All those awards didn’t come easily.
Murphy has spent decades rebuilding Colorado Springs and is best known for preserving the past by renovating historic buildings.
“A building typically has the same life span as we have, 75 or 80 years, then they fall victim to a wrecker’s ball, or a road comes through or something else happens,” Murphy told The Gazette in 2000. “We’ve doubled their life span. I think they’re a glimpse of the past, and a very, very beautiful glimpse of the past.”
His work can be seen throughout the region, with highlights including The Cliff House at Pikes Peak in Manitou Springs, the Manitou Spa and the Phantom Canyon Brewing Co. in downtown Colorado Springs.
Now an octogenarian, Murphy recently celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary with his bride Mary Lou. The couple has five children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
And Murphy has more than Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s phone number. He’s also earned the governor’s admiration.
Hickenlooper in 2014 described Murphy: “An inspiration to many and a community and business role model beyond compare.”
Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240