October 23, 2006 — Vincent Bernard Murphy Jr., who served as U.S. Equestrian Team (USET) President from 1983 to 1989, died on October 13 at his home in Far Hills, N.J., at age 78 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. Murphy, an Honorary Life Trustee, was devoted to the USET, initially as a supporting member, and then actively in the administration, first as Treasurer, then as Senior Vice President, followed by his seven-year tenure as President. In 1990, Murphy was named the USET Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Investment and Audit Committee.
In 1983, when USET President William C. Steinkraus was named USET Chairman, Murphy took over the president’s role and worked with Steinkraus for several years. Steinkraus remembers Murphy fondly.
“He was certainly a devoted supporter of the team,” said Steinkraus. “He was just a bulwark of support for the USET. He was very, very active. He went to all the Olympic Games, both at home and abroad. He was very active in attending whenever the USET was participating. He was always at the Garden at the National Horse Show. He not only was involved himself, but his daughter [Michaela Murphy] was also a candidate for the team and rode very, very well.”
Murphy and his wife of 53 years, Patricia Duffy Murphy, were the parents of six children, Vincent Murphy III, Patricia Murphy Stuebe, Kevin Murphy, Daniel Murphy, Michaela Murphy Hoag and Karen Murphy, and grandparents to 20 grandchildren. Three of his six children shared his passion for his horses–Michaela and Karen competed in the jumper division, and Kevin rode in equitation classes.
A successful investment executive, Murphy always made time for horses. In addition to his work for the USET, Murphy served on the Board of Directors for both the National Horse Show in New York and the Devon Horse Show in Pennsylvania, and was a member of the New Bolton Veterinarian Center’s Board of Overseers. As a rider, Murphy hunted with the Spring Valley Hounds and Essex Foxhounds. He fulfilled a long-held dream when he rode his hunter, Lord Sutler, on the Hunt Team for Hunt Night at the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden.
“He didn’t show, he couldn’t have–he was much too busy with his affairs and so forth,” said Steinkraus. “The hunt team was the thing, though, that a lot of people looked forward to and that was the only appearance he ever made. They shipped in for the day, and he rode on the hunt team. I think he was proud of that.”
During the 1980s, Murphy became well known as the owner of successful jumpers and eventers ridden by equally famous riders. Murphy’s successful show jumpers included Playback–the 1987 U.S. show jumper with the highest winnings, and Gusty Monroe, both ridden by the legendary Rodney Jenkins.
A Yale University graduate who also attended Wharton Graduate School, Murphy hailed from Rochester, N.Y. During the Korean War, he enlisted in the Marine Corps, rose to the rank of Major and earned a Purple Heart. Following a stint at Johnson & Johnson, Murphy enjoyed a successful 25-year career at Salomon Brothers where he worked his way up to Executive Managing Partner before joining Merrill Lynch in 1980 as President of Merrill Lynch Capital Resources, Inc., and ultimately became Special Assistant to the Chairman.
A devoted Catholic, Murphy was active in several church organizations and served on the Board of Patrons of the Arts of the Vatican Museum.
A viewing was held at the Murphy family’s Far Hills residence October 19, and mass was held October 20 at St. Brigid’s Church in Peapack, N.J. Contributions may be made to the Vincent B. Murphy, Jr. Memorial Fund at the Alzheimer’s Association, 300 Lexington Avenue, Sixth Floor, New York, NY 10017.