By Marie Curtis
Francis Murphy understood something important: Most people like tomatoes, in some form. They like them on hamburgers, in salads and with tacos. Whole, sliced or chunked, people want tomatoes, and Francis learned how to provide them year-round.
Working beside his father, Oscar P. Murphy, who started the family-owned tomato distribution business in Houston, Texas, Francis made his living in tomatoes – a lot of tomatoes. He helped build Murphy Tomatoes into a multi-million dollar company with operations in Texas, Florida and California.
A devout Southern Baptist, Francis gave generously throughout his life to IMB and global missions efforts. After his death in 2010, IMB received a gift of more than $5.3 million for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering®, the largest estate gift in the organization’s history. The gift supports missionaries around the world and their ministries among people who have previously been without access to the Gospel.
Anne Murphy, Francis’s widow, was not surprised by her husband’s generous plans for his estate. He would often tell Anne, “I wish I had more to give,” speaking not only of money, but of his time, energy and prayers.
“He just didn’t want for himself,” Anne said, from her Salinas, Calif., home. “God gave, and Francis gave. Francis didn’t want or need.”
Anne faithfully carried out her husband’s hand-written wishes. On a memo pad with “Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths” printed at the top, Francis made his priorities clear. He would make sure people heard the truth of Christ, even after his death.