Ellece King Murphy passed away in her sleep at her home on March 12, 2017, in Highlands Ranch at the age of 96.
Ellece was born November 7, 1920 in Techumseh, Oklahoma to Beth LaRoe and Olive McQuiston King. The family moved to Evergreen in 1934.
While working at the phone company in downtown Evergreen, Ellece met handsome Army Air Corps Cadet James H. Murphy and they were married in the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration by Canon Charles Winifred Douglas on February 1, 1940.
The war years found them stationed around the U.S. while daughters Patty and Marilyn (MaryBeth) were born. Jim was frequently gone to serve in combat as a Bombardier Squadron Commander. After the war, the family returned to Colorado. Nextdoor to her father’s hardware store in downtown Evergreen, Ellece and Beth started the King-Murphy Realty Company, and Jim set up his Law Practice.
With her father, Ellece purchased and developed the Circle K Ranch Homesites in Upper Bear Creek, where they built their family homes. Son Jimy arrived and as the family grew, Ellece’s business thrived through her business acumen. Jim was elected Clear Creek County Judge in 1956.
With a small group of fellow enthusiasts, the Murphys co-founded the Evergreen Players in 1950. In 1968 Ellece was instrumental in the conversion of the church where she and Jim had married into “The Little Log Theatre” where the Evergreen Players produced several plays every year until 1993, dozens of them directed by Ellece and almost always including her husband, children and grandchildren. Over the years, the Players became the premier amateur theatre group in Colorado.
In 1980, faced with a crisis in the community, the family donated land for what would become the King-Murphy Elementary School, named after them.
Ellece served as a member of the Clear Creek Planning Commission, as head of Clear Creek County Democrats and ran for County Commissioner. She was an activist for working people and causes she believed in all her life.
After the great blizzard of 2003, Ellece moved to Grand Junction to live with daughter Marilyn. Last year, they moved back to the front range to be near family.
She is survived by her children, Patty Murphy of Las Vegas, Marilyn Allen of Highlands Ranch and Jimy (Delinda) Murphy of Evergreen, nephews Paul (Jan) King and David (Martha) King, grandchildren Patricia (Darrel) Wilson, Kari Beth (Derek) Luedtke, Lynley (Raul) Valles, Kristin (Chip) Conway, Anna (Mitesh) Murphy-Master, Jimier Murphy and Mystery (Eli) Murphy – as well as 12 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren.
A Celebration of Ellece’s life will be held Saturday, March 25 at 3 PM at the King-Murphy School, Circle K Ranch Road, Evergreen CO 80439. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to King-Murphy PTA.