Jimy King Murphy is a third generation Evergreenite known for his energetic persona, boundless creativity, and a passionate drive. The Oklahoma Dust Bowl, combined with the depression, forced Jimy’s grandfather, Beth King, to leave his family to seek work anywhere he could find it. He traipsed from Alaska to Cripple Creek to Evergreen. Securing steady income allowed Beth to bring his family including his then teenage daughter, Ellece (Jimmy’s mother), to join him. Jimy shares, “Driving through scenic Bear Creek Canyon en route to Evergreen, my mother claimed, ‘the sky, the air, and the scenery are absolutely glistening.’”
Beth and his son, Laird, established King’s Hardware and Lumber, which was located on Main Street in downtown Evergreen, and they later sold to purchase Circle K Ranch. Years later, just before the U.S. entry into WWII, Ellece was working for the telephone company in downtown Evergreen when she caught the eye of Army Air Corps Cadet James Murphy. The couple married in the Church of the Transfiguration that was then a small log structure that had been a stage stop and hotel. Daughters Patty and Marilyn were born when the family was stationed throughout the United States. Jimy arrived when his parents returned to Evergreen when Patty was 12 and Marilyn was 8. They loved doting on their little brother, and Jimy reveals, “Prior to Evergreen High School’s mascot being the Cougar, they were the Cubs. Patty and Marilyn dressed me in the cub outfit when I was about 3 and took me to school and community events. I thoroughly loved the attention.”
“In my early days, Little Bear was known as Round-Up Dance Hall, and that’s where my parents had their first date. Next door to King’s Hardware and Lumber, my father had his law office, and next to that both my mother and her father, Beth, established King Murphy Realty. Going into KiKi’s Fresh Bowls remains nostalgic because my cousins built the existing bathroom that looks much the same now as it did then. My family’s antique safe also remains a permanent fixture.”
The purchase of Circle K Ranch created a magical childhood for Jimy. “The ranch was located on the east end of Clear Creek County, and neighbors were few. I rarely had friends to play with, but I didn’t mind. I loved roaming our ranch. My parents loved to perform and sing and, along with others, they cofounded the Evergreen Players in the 1950s. Transfiguration Church had built their current sanctuary, so the Evergreen Players transitioned their original log church, where my parents married, into The Little Log Theatre. It was there I found my passion performing and working on plays. When I needed a job, dude and guest ranches were plentiful along Upper Bear Creek Road. Singing River Ranch hired me to muck stalls and be a tail end guide. My job was to alert the actual guide if anyone fell off. One of my earliest memories was watching limousines going to and from Troutdale Resort that once attracted Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, and the Marx Brothers in its heyday. T-Bar-S and Greystone Guest Ranch also attracted guests as did Joe’s Stables which was then located near Wilmot Elementary School. I obviously enjoyed riding horses, but that changed when I discovered dirt bikes and girls.”
Jimy reveals Evergreen forever changed “with the creation of Hiwan Estates and Country Club. Wide open spaces transitioned into a unique sprawl. Tourists loved Evergreen, and families with attractive daughters poured out of one tourist bus after another. My friends and I tried to meet every bus to ensure no girl was overlooked.
“I lived in the era when many EHS students identified as either cowboys or hippies. Obviously, my long hair identified me as a hippy. Tension escalated to the point that hippies and cowboys wanted to fight it out. An offbeat rumble, similar to ‘West Side Story’ minus the choreography, was slated. I watched from behind a post. The odds were tipped when cowboys outside of Evergreen heard about the scheduled brawl. Nearly 30 cowboys faced-off with 18 hippies and, amazingly, the hippies gave those cowboys a beatdown. From then on, unity prevailed. Hippies started riding bulls, cowboys started smoking pot, and everyone remained friends throughout high school and beyond.”
In his sophomore year at EHS, Jimy was asked to volunteer at the Open School by his counselor knowing he was frustrated with the traditional school concept. “After my junior year, I enrolled at Loretto Heights College, which had recently transitioned to co-ed. The school ratio was 12 girls to 1 boy. It was heaven.”
Lured to a concert in Michigan, Jimy and six friends drove a shoddy VW bus that died outside Omaha. “We broke up into pairs to hitchhike the rest of the way. My buddy Steve and I were let out in Chicago on a dark and rainy night. A black Thunderbird pulled up and the driver asked, ‘You boys need a ride and a place to stay?’ With Steve in the backseat and I in the front, I was shocked when the driver started touching my leg. His touch turned from light to caressing as he rubbed further up my leg. Having lit a cigarette, I impulsively put it out on the driver’s hand. He quickly pulled over and yelled, ‘GET OUT!’ A couple of years later, Steve called, stating, ‘Look at the cover of today’s Rocky Mountain Newspaper.’ My heart stopped. The front page story was about the pervert who picked us up, and now he had a name: John Wayne Gacy, convicted for killing 33 young men and boys in the Chicago area during the 1970s. He was executed on May 9, 1994.”
At age 18, Jimy was taking 28 credits at Loretto Heights College when a staff position was posted at the Open School. He and 88 others applied. Jimy landed the job. With a passion for teaching and working with underserved teens, Jimy helped open Community Involved Charter School which opened in Lakewood in 1993. Jimy served as president of the board, lead teacher for the secondary program, and principal advisor to dozens of teens.
Jimy and a few friends established the Kamikazi Klones, a band that became a national act in the mid-’80s. While playing a gig in Telluride in 1982, Jimy locked eyes with Delinda, a Telluride native. They’ve remained happily married for decades, which is revealed as Jimy’s eye sparkle when he speaks of his wife, their three children and grandchildren. “My family is my first and foremost priority. We moved to L.A. when I was working in film and video. I quickly discovered L.A. wasn’t my vibe, and I wanted our kids to grow up in Evergreen.”
Managing energy is Jimy’s specialty, whether it be before crowds as a speaker, performer and teacher, or one-on-one, coaching and mentoring people how to have more consistent and higher quality energy in their lives. “My current concern is the conflict and strife. Covid forced us to isolate globally. We now need to help one another heal. Our world is at a nexus point much like it was with the invention of the printing press, making the need to relate to one another’s deep inward feelings, rather than our intellect, a priority. I believe this can be done through storytelling and music.” And, with a twinkle in his eye, Jimy adds, “Although the Klones never had street cred in Evergreen, everywhere we go, like we did when we were young, we can still go on stage and knock the socks off our audiences.”