Steve Murphy has great respect for people who struggled and sacrificed, survivors who gave of themselves for future generations, placed others above themselves, lived genuine integrity and loved their families beyond description.
There are more than a few of those in Steve’s ancestry. When he talks about them his eyes beam with pride, amazement and maybe a few tears.
Leaving the farm he loved, Steve’s maternal grandad moved to Rockford, Illinois, and worked 39 years for Quaker Oats (hired to break horses and eventually becoming plant manager).
When a friend was going through major medical issues, Grandad worked his own shift, clocked out ... then clocked back in on his friend’s time card and worked a second shift so the family still had income and his friend could keep his job.
“Grandad always had a table garden and a corn patch. They canned and shared with people who needed it.”
His paternal grandfather was absent, but Steve’s grandma was a force to be reckoned with, raising three kids in Arkansas, on her own, in a shack, with a dirt floor.
She gave birth to Steve’s father outdoors, by herself, cut the cord and took him back into the shack.
Grandma picked cotton, but wasn’t fast enough to keep her job. So she would just pick the bolls, fill her sacks with them, then go home and spend hours picking out the cotton, returning to work the next day, with her sacks of cotton.
She took in laundry and washed it in a big kettle heated over the fire in the middle of the dirt yard.
She split her own firewood, going barefoot throughout the winter (because she only had enough money to buy shoes for the boys).
Steve’s father grew up in Rockford and became a machinist, but didn’t want the factory life. So he saved, bought a lot, and built a home.
Steve said, “My dad has always been there for the family. There is no better dad!”
He had no prior experience or knowledge of home building so would go watch other people build homes to learn. While saving up money for the building materials, he dug the basement of that first home with a shovel for hours each day after work.
Steve’s reveres his mom as the perfect mother. She was a homemaker, working long, hard hours to make the best life possible for her family. Steve references the Proverbs 31 Woman and says, “There’s nobody like my mom. She’s the model of all moms.”
Moving to Sedona in 1971, Steve attended Jerome High School where he ran track and cross country getting up at 4:45 a.m. to run before school (averaging 80 miles each week). He spent his final two years at the new Mingus High and then went into the building trade (building and selling his first two homes by age 20), eventually partnering with his father.
Steve has three kids, and has been married to Sabrina for 27 years. Steve used to camp, hunt, fish and still loves to explore Arizona’s back country.
Jim Cunningham, Jr. is a pastor, husband, father, lover of people, friend, neighbor, counselor, teacher, book collector, and jack-of-all-trades. Meet him here each month to become acquainted with yet another Village resident.