Murray Phillips made an imprint on the art community in Langley, but as a philanthropist also touched many other local hearts. (Langley Advance files)

VIDEO: Langley bids adieu to renowned wilderness artist and philanthropist

A service is being held at White Rock Baptist Church this afternoon for the late Murray Phillips.

“It is my deep desire to understand and paint the wilderness with a knowledge and skill that communicates that I have been there. I want my art to celebrate the beauty I encounter in nature and to heighten the significance of preserving the wilderness.”

These were words Murray Earl Phillips lived by.

A service is underway this afternoon for the long-time Murrayville resident, once prominent Langley City business owner, and renowned Canadian artist.

That thick-bearded artist from Langley, who resembled a blend between Santa or Grizzly Adams, and had a similarly gentle soul and kind heart, passed away at age 74 of a brain tumor.

Murray was best known for his copious paintings of the western Canadian wilderness.

He would spent several months each year camping in isolation, wanting to be one with nature that he would then capture on canvas.

He was also a father of three and grandfather of eight.

He lost his beloved wife of 46 years, Betty, to cancer in June 2013.

While he was a painter for more than 50 years, he worked at it full-time for that past 20-plus year.

Prior to focusing on his art, he spent much of his life in the halls of academia, first seeking his graduate degree in theology, culture, and anthropology. Then later, he taught in a variety of colleges and universities.

He passed away last week in Langley Hospice, the very organization he helped raise thousands for through the years. He created the West Fine Art Show in 2009. It has since grown to be an art show and sale that is hosted three times a year – each in different locations and each for different charities.

It’s a very sad time, said Shannon Todd Booth, the communications and funds development manager for hospice, calling Phillips’ passing a “tremendous loss” for Langley.

“I had the opportunity to meet Murray shortly after I accepted my role here at the Langley Hospice Society, when he approached us to partner with the West Fine Art Society to host an annual art show, in memory of his late wife Betty and in support of the hospice society,” she reflected.

“He was a strong supporter of the Langley Hospice Society and through his own sharing and the West Fine Art Show, he helped provide an opportunity to engage the broader community in conversation about the importance of palliative and bereavement care and support,” Todd Booth elaborated.

“Our community has lost a special man, and my heart goes out to his wife, Evelyn, his family, and friends and all who knew him. I know I am one of many in a large and eclectic circle who will miss this kind, intelligent man, and I feel honoured to have known him and to call him a friend.”

.

• See related story: Twenty-three artists rally to help homeless Langley students

ALSO:

Related – Langley senior prepares for another summer party focusing around his art

Related – Long history with Manning spawns painting donation by Langley artist

Related – Horse show art show and sale benefits Langley hospice

Related – Artists bring visions to Tbird

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Celebrating Family Day in the Langleys

Thousands attend child-friendly events

LETTER: Langley man says Wilson-Raybould deserves Canadians’ respect

A letter writer said the former federal justice minister is one of a rare class of politicians.

LETTER: Langley MP serves up government’s position on new impaired driving law

The new legislation is the biggest change to drunk driving laws in four decades, an MP argues.

LETTER: Tandem garage design should be limited in Langley developments

A local writer is concerned tandem garages will be allowed in the redevelopment of Brookswood.

Langley’s Coldest Night of the Year approaching

Gateway of Hope is hosting the Coldest Night of the Year on Saturday, Feb. 23.

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

UPDATE: Plane flips over at Pitt Meadows airport

The pilot and lone occupant exited the aircraft on his own and uninjured.

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

‘Violent’ B.C. man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Prince George man with ties to Vernon sought by police

Most Read