Leonard Wesley Murphy was born in Portland, Oregon on October 10, 1933 to John Wesley Murphy and Wilma Georgia Leonard. Leonard was preceded in death by his parents, first wife Barbara, daughter Cynthia, and grandson Phillip.
Leonard died peacefully at home in Tucson, AZ on February 6, 2022 with family at his side. He is survived by his wife Melva; daughter Susan; grandson Evan; stepchildren Cindy, Mark, Tom (Steph); sisters and spouses Beverly (Fred), Betty (Russ), Bonnie (Steve); seven step-grandchildren, four great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. He loved his BIG family.
Leonard grew up in Hood River, Oregon. As a youngster, his first job was delivering newspapers, saving money to buy a bicycle and school clothes. He also took several trips back to Missouri to visit his grandparents and other relatives.
After graduating from Hood River high school in 1951, Leonard joined friends for his first climbing experience, carrying supplies for a fireworks display up the north face of Mt. Hood. He was drafted into the Army in 1954 spending most of his time in Germany. After discharge in 1956, he worked as a BLM Land Surveyor for 30 years, traveling across the United States to national parks and Native American reservations verifying boundaries. His favorite site was the Hopi Reservation where he lived for two years. He slept out in the wilderness for days on end and performed surveys many years before GPS systems were available.
Hiking became a passion. Leonard joined Trails Club of Oregon (TCO) in 1980, eventually becoming club president. He organized and led outings to understand the roots of conservation issues which were very well attended. Upon retirement from BLM at the age of 57, Leonard became a full-time volunteer with the Clackamas County Retired Senior Volunteer Service and did more work with the conservation committee of the TCO, including compiling their history. Volunteering for Adventist Hospice was also a great experience for Leonard in the early 2000s.
In later years Leonard and Melva would winter in Tucson surrounded by family and enjoying many outdoor activities. During summers back in Portland a highlight included singing in the choir group “Sing Here Now” where he performed a solo memorably. More recently Leonard appreciated his visits to The Lambert House, a community where individuals found friendship and strong bonds with others. He will be laid to rest at Willamette National Cemetery on Thursday, May 12, 2022 at 11:00 a.m.
Donations in Leonard's honor may be made to one of the following:
- Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs, 1632 NW Aspen Ave, Portland, OR 97210
- The Lambert House VOAOR, 3910 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97214