CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Local historian Murphy Givens passed away Sunday at the age of 76.
“He was such a strong advocate for history. Not only Corpus Christi, Nueces County, the state of Texas, and as far as I’m concerned, the world. He was a great wealth of information, there’s probably so much up there we didn’t even begin to tap,” said Kath Wemer, the Chairman of the Nueces County Historical Commission.
According to Wemer, Givens’ passing leaves a large hole in the historical community in Corpus Christi.
“Who do we go to now if we have a history mystery, or a question we want to know? And he didn’t have to look it up, it was right there, he knew exactly what you were asking, and the information he was going to provide you with. If you had it wrong, he certainly would correct you,” she said.
Givens worked for many years writing columns for the Corpus Christi Caller Times. Former Caller Times Opinion Editor Tom Whitehurst worked closely with Givens for many years. Whitehurst had the following to say about Givens in a released statement:
“Murphy was dedicated like no one I had worked with before or since. It meant, in practice, that he was almost always right and I either was wrong or in agreement with him. I say this with all love, no tongue in cheek. My favorite memory is from late 1999 or early 2000 when I was business editor and we had reported on the port having received its historic first shipment of new cars. Murphy dropped a photocopy on my desk, said nothing and walked away. The photo was of brand-spanking new-at-the-time cars being lifted off a ship at the port. I'm not sure of the year model but they appeared to me to be Ford Model A's. History never stops being relevant and important. This is something Murphy knew and appreciated like no one else I have ever known.”
For more than a decade, Givens spoke on KEDT for his history show, a gig he got because of his column in the Caller Times.
“We thought that these perspectives that he had were so interesting, that we wanted to share it with our listeners,” said Stewart Jacoby, the Director of Radio Programming for KEDT. “Every time I read a Murphy Givens column, I always learned something about our community, what it was, and how it fits into what we are today. The thing I found the most interesting about Murphy, so many historians would look at an army, but Murphy Givens would look at the individual foot soldier, and tell his stories based around an interesting individual, or interesting events.”
Stewart enjoyed Givens’ radio show, and so did listeners. While he still worked for the Caller Times, his radio show would tease to the column he wrote on the subject. After he retired from the Caller Times, he continued his hard work, and wrote up a script entirely for the radio.
“[Feedback was] always very positive, people liked Murphy, they liked the way he sounded. I think everybody found the same thing I did, he always seemed to teach us something about who we were, and who we are,” Jacoby said.
Jacoby said Givens will be missed by many.
“He was a very fine man. He was very likable, and had a wonderful sense of humor. He is going to be missed,” he said.