ETHEL BOLTER MURPHY / 1912-2014

Posted On November 8th, 2014 -

Mainland transplant started and helmed business magazine

By Rosemarie Bernardo / rbernardo@staradvertiser.com

Ethel Bolter Murphy, who co-founded Hawaii Business magazine, described as the oldest regional business publication in the nation, died Oct. 9. She was 101.

Born in Salem, Ore., Murphy was raised by her father, a lumberman, after her mother, a housewife, died when Murphy was a young child. During her formative years, she attended boarding school.

During the Great Depression, she moved to California, where she found a job as an office clerk. While there, she met her husband, Joseph, who served in the Navy.

Murphy started working in public relations at MGM Studios in Hollywood. She enjoyed her career and worked for the motion picture company for 15 years before she and Joseph moved to Honolulu in 1952.

Three years later, the Murphys founded Hawaii Business magazine. Their late daughter, Gina, also worked at the magazine as an art director.

Ethel Murphy served as president of the publication.

Her husband died in the early 1990s. Murphy later sold the magazine to Honolulu-based aio Group and PacificBasin Communications LLC.

“Hawaii Business was the highlight of her life where she felt like she made the biggest contribution,” said longtime friend Suzanne Hills Tucker.

In 1996, Murphy was inducted into the Hawaii Publishers Association’s Hall of Fame for her commitment and contributions to publishing.

In her free time, Murphy enjoyed the theater, operas and playing the piano. She also was a voracious reader, primarily interested in history and biography.

Family members and friends said she will be best remembered for her caring, patient and selfless nature.

Tucker said Murphy was both a good friend and a mentor.

“She was extremely fair with people and open-minded and hard-working,” she said. “She taught me about humanism.”

Grandson Ross Conquest said she was generous and loving. “She was always helping people in one way or another.”

Murphy is also survived by granddaughter Stacey “Lehua” Selzer and step-grandson Joel Murphy.

A gathering will be held at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday — her 102nd birthday — at the Hilton Hawaiian Village lagoon. Her ashes will be scattered in waters off the Hilton.

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