Thomas J. Murray Memorial Fund
“Everybody loved Tommy. He was very charming, had a lot of friends, and had the most beautiful blue eyes you’ve ever seen,” Kim (Murray) Butler recalls of her brother, who passed away in December 2014 at age 42. “He had a great sense of humor and such a contagious laugh.”
A graduate of Smithfield High School and New England Institute of Technology, Tommy pursued the restaurant business. “He was very successful. He was so good with people,” explains his mother, Josephine, noting that Tommy quickly became general manager of five Papa Gino’s restaurants.
Tommy was diagnosed with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis at age 24. When he could no longer work in the restaurants due to symptoms exacerbated by the heat of the kitchens, he began working at J.F. Moran Company from home. “Ultimately, MS took everything from him, except his character. If anything, it highlighted it, as he showed us all his inner strength and fortitude,” Kim says.
Despite his physical decline over the years, Tom found pleasure in time with family and friends. Favorite pastimes included watching Patriots and Red Sox games with his devoted father, Jack, and even doing some therapeutic horseback riding with the assistance of his brother, John.
In his eulogy, Tommy’s longtime friend Kevin Mulhern shared funny stories, along with a serious message: “What did define you, Tommy, and forever will define you, is your courage, strength, perseverance, spirit, and grace while enduring, for 19 years, the physical and emotional challenges that none of us could possibly imagine.”
“He never complained. He always said, ‘There are so many people worse off than me’, “ Josephine shares, noting that only after Tommy’s passing did they become fully aware of the nonprofits he supported. “He was extremely compassionate and was quietly helping others who were suffering through donations to various organizations for children, veterans, and animals.”
Family and friends are assuring that Tommy’s name forever will be associated with philanthropy. Designated for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater New England Chapter, this fund will provide for direct services to MS patients in Rhode Island.