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Former S.D. Reporter Violet Murphy Dies

December 01, 1987|BILLIE SUTHERLAND | Times Staff Writer

Violet Faye Murphy, a San Diego journalist for 19 years, died of cancer in a Bakersfield hospital Sunday. She was 63.

Murphy, a native of Snyder, Okla., was 30 when she got her first newspaper job with the Gazette Telegraph in Colorado Springs, Colo. In 1960, she spent 30 days in jail for refusing to reveal a news source to the Colorado Supreme Court--the first reporter in Colorado and one of the first in the nation to be jailed for refusing to reveal a news source. The sentencing came in connection with a story about a Colorado Supreme Court judge who allegedly had accepted a $3,500 bribe.

"She said a couple of months ago that she never revealed that source to anyone," said Kathy Hobstetter, a daughter. "She said the source is dead now but the principle is still very much alive."

Murphy went on to serve as the features editor of the Moline, Ill., Dispatch for seven years before joining the San Diego Union in 1969 as a reporter.

After attending San Diego State University to learn Spanish, Murphy eventually wrote about Mexico for the paper.

She left the Union in 1978 to enter public relations as a spokeswoman for Mexican tourism. In 1974, Murphy toured Central and South America with Mexican President Luis Echeverria and his entourage. She retired in 1982.

"She believed in what was right and fought for it," another daughter, Sandra Murphy, said. "She was always fighting for causes. For example, she was instrumental in forming a coalition of Southern California Indians."

Murphy is survived by her mother, Mable West of Castle Rock, Colo.; a son, John, of Bakersfield; three daughters, Sandra, also of Bakersfield; Hobstetter of Denver, and Dusty Turpin of Salt Lake City; three grandchildren; two sisters and one brother.

Cremation is planned. A memorial Mass will be said today at 10 a.m. at Christ the King Church in Bakersfield. The family requests contributions be sent to the American Cancer Society.

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