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Ewell E. "Pat" Murphy Jr.


1928 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Ewell E. "Pat" Murphy Jr. Obituary
Ewell E. ("Pat") Murphy, Jr.
1928-2018
Ewell E. ("Pat") Murphy, Jr., died on Sunday, the 21st of January, in Houston, Texas.
Pat was born in 1928 in Washington, D.C., to Lou Phillips Murphy and Ewell E. Murphy, Sr. Pat attended San Angelo, Texas public schools and graduated from San Angelo High School (valedictorian, 1943) and San Angelo Junior College (1944), before moving to Austin, where he studied at The University of Texas (B.A. with Honors, 1946) and, at age 20, received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law (LL.B. with Honors, 1948). He was President of the legal fraternity Phi Delta Phi.
During his senior year at UT Law, Pat was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University. After passing the Texas Bar exam, he moved to England as an undergraduate of St. Edmund Hall, where he studied comparative constitutional law. Pat was elected "President of the Junior Common Room" (St. Edmund Hall's undergraduate student body). He was coxswain of St. Edmund Hall's successful eight-oared rowing crew. He received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1951.
Returning to Texas, Pat volunteered for the U.S. Air Force, was commissioned as a lieutenant in 1952, and spent two years on active duty, chiefly in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, as a legal officer in the United States Mission to Saudi Arabia. During his final assignment in Kansas City, Missouri, he met Patricia Bredell Purnell, who would become his wife and the loving mother of their three children.
After his U.S. Air Force service ended, he joined the law firm now known as Baker Botts LLP and was initially assigned as a liaison to the firm's Mexico City office, which is now an independent Mexican law firm, Santamarina y Steta, S.C. He and Patricia married in Mexico City and lived there briefly before his return to the firm's Houston office, where he became a partner in 1964, chairman of the firm's International Department in 1972, and a senior partner in 1980, retiring at the end of 1992.
Reflecting Houston's growing prominence as a world energy center, his practice served chiefly energy, energy-service, and mining clients and included major projects in Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, Australia, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, New Zealand, Panama, Bolivia, Paraguay, Indonesia, Nigeria, Algeria, and Trinidad and Tobago. During his years with Baker Botts and continuing after retirement he was also an active arbitrator of transnational business disputes and an elected member of the College of Commercial Arbitrators.
Parallel to Pat's law practice was his leadership of professional organizations, including Chair of the International Law Committee of the Houston Bar Association, Chair of the Section of International Law of the American Bar Association, Trustee of The Center for American and International Law, Chair of its Institute for International and Comparative Law, and Founding Chair of its Institute for Transnational Arbitration. In civic groups, he was President of the Houston World Trade Association, Chairman of the International Business Committee of the Houston Chamber of Commerce, Chairman and Secretary-Rapporteur of the Houston Committee on Foreign Relations, a Director of the World Affairs Council for Greater Houston, President of the Houston Philosophical Society, and an elected member of The Philosophical Society of Texas and of the Council on Foreign Relations.
After retirement from Baker Botts, Pat taught transnational business law as a Visiting Professor at UT Law (1993–1997) and as a Distinguished Lecturer (1996–2006) and an Adjunct Professor (2007–2015) at the University of Houston Law Center.
Pat's enthusiasm for international student exchange led to his work (1955–1992) on state and regional committees that select Rhodes Scholars which in turn led to his presidential appointment by President George H. W. Bush to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board in Washington, D.C. (1991-1996) and election as its Chairman (1993–1995).
Among the honors Pat received were the Recognition Award of the Texas-Mexico Bar Association, the Carl H. Fulda Award of the Texas International Law Journal, the Honorary Alumnus Award of the University of Houston Law Center, the Golden Ex Award of Angelo State University, and the inaugural Pat Murphy Award of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration. The Houston City Council declared October 21, 1995 as "Ewell E. Murphy, Jr. Day".
Pat's wife Patricia Purnell Murphy died in 1964. Pat is survived by his three children, Michaela Murphy of Mexico City, Megan Patricia Murphy of Austin, and Harlan Ewell Murphy of Houston, his three granddaughters, Caroline Grace Murphy, Megan Musial Murphy, and Catherine Olivia Murphy, all children of Harlan, and his sister and brother-in-law Mr. & Mrs. M.B. Williams of Water Valley, Mississippi, their children, grandchildren, and great grandchild.
Friends are cordially invited to gather with the family and share remembrances of Pat during a reception to be held from seven until nine o'clock in the evening on Friday, the 2nd of February, in the grand foyer of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston.
The memorial service is to be conducted at one o'clock in the afternoon on Saturday, the 3rd of February, at St. Philip Presbyterian Church, 4807 San Felipe in Houston. Immediately following all are invited to greet the family during a reception.
Memorial contributions may be directed to, The Association of American Rhodes Scholars; Christ Church, A.R. Mexico City; The Academy of American and International Law of the Southwestern Institute for International and Comparative Law; or St. Philip Presbyterian Church.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Jan. 31, 2018
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