Travel Industry Pioneer Jimmy Murphy Dies

After a yearlong battle with cancer, Murphy passes away at 82 years old By: Michelle Juergen
Murphy // © 2014 AmaWaterways
Murphy // © 2014 AmaWaterways

Jimmy Murphy, co-founder of Brendan Vacations and AmaWaterways and co-founder of the U.S. Tour Operators Association (USTOA), died Dec. 18 at 82 years old, after a yearlong battle with cancer. He served as chairman and co-owner of AmaWaterways until his passing.

Born and educated in Ireland, Murphy began his career at a retail travel agency in Dublin. He then served as a sales executive with Irish airline Aer Lingus and later co-founded Ireland specialist Brendan Vacations (formerly Brendan Tours) and river cruise operator AmaWaterways. He also served as national treasurer of American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) for four years. He was inducted into the ASTA Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2010, Murphy received a Travel Weekly Lifetime Achievement Award.

Murphy is survived by his wife, Sheila Murphy, and his children, Sharon Devitt, Susan Murphy, Sean Murphy and Gary Murphy, who is vice president of sales at AmaWaterways.

“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,” said Rudi Schreiner, president and co-owner of AmaWaterways. “We all loved Jimmy Murphy, and he will be missed by all of us.”

“Few people have touched the lives and hearts of so many people as did Jimmy Murphy,” said Terry Dale, president and CEO of 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.”