Attorney Lester Murphy Jr. of East Dennis, who was known as Jay, died on Aug. 25, 2023 after courageously facing cancer. He was 73.
Jay was born in Rochester, N.Y. on May 4, 1950 to Joe and Barbara Murphy. After graduating from Wellesley High School in 1968, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1972 and a juris doctor degree from Northeastern University in 1975.
That same year, he was licensed to practice law in Massachusetts. In 1977 he was admitted to the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, and in 1979 he gained admission to the United States Tax Court.
Jay established an office in Dennis and practiced law on Cape Cod for over 40 years, with a specialty in real estate and a reputation for integrity. He was respected as a creative problem solver who built lifelong friendships with clients, town board members and staff, fellow lawyers, and community members. Jay was also a valued member of the Dennis Finance Committee, where he was known for bringing a fair and reasonable approach to deliberations.
“Jay was an amazing attorney,” wrote David Nicolau, a former Provincetown Zoning Board of Appeals member, in a remembrance. “He almost never got flustered and always worked to make a deal come to fruition.”
Jay was also known for his encyclopedic knowledge of the commercial and residential history of Provincetown and Truro. He was, wrote former Provincetown Assessor and Truro Select Board member Paul Asher-Best, “smart and kind — a rare combination.”
Gifted with a quick wit and a lively sense of humor, Jay was also an engaging conversationalist, according to former colleague Michelle Fogarty, who described his kindness and generosity.
Jay’s passions included reading about the history of World War II, which he passed on to his daughter Brittany, and his love for the island of Maui, Elvis, and Corvettes.
He lived for his annual vacation in Maui and could be found on wintry Cape Cod Friday nights with a Scotch in hand, dreaming of being back on the island’s white sandy beaches with a Mai Tai in hand. He was deeply saddened by the news of the recent deadly wildfires on the island.
Jay owned every Elvis Presley album and would sing Elvis’s songs to his cat, Cotton, who was mesmerized by Jay’s renditions.
Jay loved his family’s 1968 Camaro, which he spent many weekends restoring. His dying wish was to see the frame-off restoration of his 1965 fuel-injected Corvette finished. With the help of friends and family, that wish came true.
Jay is survived by his wife, Christine M. Murphy of East Dennis; daughter Brittany L. Murphy of Roslindale; sisters Judith Sincock Murphy of Key West, Fla., Janice Gallagher of Holliston, and Joan Dignan of South Dennis; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Visiting hours are from 3:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 7 at Doane, Beal & Ames Funeral Home, 729 Route 134, South Dennis. Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 8 at Our Lady of the Cape Parish, 468 Stony Brook Road in Brewster. Burial will follow in Quivet Neck Cemetery in East Dennis.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jay’s honor to either the Dana Farber Cancer Institute or the Hawaii Community Foundation Maui Strong Fund.