James ‘Jim’ Murphy Jr.

May 08, 2024

James “Jim” Murphy of Bonita Springs, FL passed away in his sleep on April 8 following a year-long fight through complications of long-covid. He was 78.

A loving husband, father, brother, uncle, papa, and friend, he was a presence by every measure. His quick wit, generous nature, thoughtful integrity, and business savvy made him a trusted adviser and treasured confidant to all.

Born January 23 in Springfield, MA he was the youngest of three sons to Mary S. Murphy (Sullivan) and James J. Murphy, Sr. At 22 he met and married Dot (Montagna) of Agawam, and the two began a charmed 56-year journey raising daughters Joy and Lynn, and enjoying life, work, and travel with family who are friends, and friends who became family.

In a career that quite literally grew from the stock room to the board room, he rose through the ranks of the Phillips Van Heusen Corporation. As chairman and CEO of Van Heusen Retail, he helped to redefine the industry, leading the nation’s largest fleet of factory outlet stores under such iconic American brands as G.H. Bass, Cape Isle Knitters, Van Heusen, and Geoffrey Beene. Professional advancement to metro New York moved the family from Longmeadow, MA to Middletown, NJ where they would remain until his early retirement and relocation to Bonita Springs, Florida at age 47.

His second act as an independent strategic consultant included advising retail leaders William Sonoma, Charlotte Russe, and Russ. But it soon gave way to the delights of life on the ocean and golf course, travels through Europe, summers on Cape Cod, and spending quality time with the people he loved. Giving back included membership in Rotary Club and Ducks Unlimited and leading the community 4th of July festivities. Early morning coffee with his buddies at the Shadow Wood Men’s Grill and the Orleans Yacht Club were “the best hour of laughing and insults that friends can have.”

A self-educated sponge for business, financial and world news, and a self-proclaimed “quahaug scratcher extraordinaire,” he loved history-reading, storytelling, joke-playing, scotch-drinking, flowerbed-tending, and every possible moment spent with his granddaughter, Masi, who was the true delight of his life.

“The most important things in my life are my wife and my girls. We’ve had a wonderful family with lots of love and fun. And then Masi came along and made it all even better.”

Predeceased by his parents and oldest brother Dennis Murphy, Jim is survived by his wife Dot Murphy; daughter Joy Murphy Stewart and son-in-law Michael Stewart; daughter Lynn Murphy and granddaughter Masi Murphy; brother Barry Murphy and wife Gail (Little) Murphy, and many loved nieces and nephews, including Ellen (Smith) Bedard, whom he considered to be his third daughter.

New England -based family and friends are invited to gather for a Celebration of Life luncheon on Saturday, May 18 from 12:00 – 3:00 pm at The Chatham Wayside Inn, Chatham Mass. Please let the family know if you plan to attend. A celebration for Florida -based family, friends, and neighbors will be hosted at Shadow Wood at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made in Jim’s honor to the Shadow Wood Charitable Foundation, 22801 Oakwilde Blvd, Bonita Springs, 34135; the Orleans Fire & Rescue Department, 58 Eldridge Park Way 02653; or the Cape Cod Community College Education Foundation School of Nursing, 224 Iyannough Rd, West Barnstable 02668.