Maricopa was the last place Pennee thought they'd end up. While they were dating Pat and Pennee would drive through town on the
way to home of Pat's cousin on the Vekol Ranch. Pennee often wondered who would want to live in Maricopa.
Pennee and Pat set to renovating the house on Maricopa farm which was quite an ordeal given that the past residents kept two
German shepherds in one bedroom and an monkey in the other. Pennee finally resorted to washing out the house with a garden
hose before reflooring and painting the house.
Third Generation Arizona Cotton Farmer
Brent was born on August 22, 1959 in Chandler, Arizona to Pat and Pennee
Murphree. Pat is an Arizona native and Pennee, an Iowa farm girl, moved to
Arizona in 1954 with her family.
Pat worked for his father AP Murphree on the family farm at Pecos and Linday
Rds. AP (Pat Sr.) came to Arizona in 1917 and helped turn AJ Chandler's farming
operation into a profitable operation. He also bought acreage of his own in the
area. On that land he and his wife, Frances, raised their four children, Louise,
Alice, Neal and Pat.
GE Howard and his wife, Lucille, moved their family to Chandler in the early 1950s
from their farm in Iowa. Their children, Pennee, Terry and Pam, were all born in
Brent's Important Dates
The AP Murphree family - Louise, Pat
Sr., Alice, Little Pat, Frances, Neal early
Brent was born two days before their first anniversary. Two years later, Julie was born. The family lived in a
small house across the road from Pat's parents on the family farm.
In 1965 Pat moved his family into the town of Chandler so the kids could attend school in their neighborhood.
He took a job selling farm equipment and later started a custom hay baling business.
Little brother, Patrick, was born into the family in 1966. The house on Ivanhoe was always busy with friends
and family. The street buzzed with the activity of young growing families in a small urbanizing community.
Pat Murphree and Pennee Howard met at Chandler High School. Both popular students, school. They dated
all of Pennee's senior year and were married the August following her graduation in 1958. Pat had graduated a
year earlier and was going to school and working on the family farm.
Brent and his dad.
Brent, Julie and Patrick
AP Murphree departs train
in Maricopa and goes to
work for Dr AJ Chandler
Brent born in Chandler,
Murphrees move to
Maricopa to farm on family
Brent graduates from
Maricopa High School.
Brent interns in City
Manager's Office at the City
Brent and his siblings all
graduate from ASU
Maricopa is incorporated as
Arizona's 88th city and
Brent is elected vice-mayor
by city council.
The Howards - GE, Terry, Pennee, Pam and Lucille
Brent and little brother Curt pose for
an OSHA and child wellfare violation
picture on the family farm.
A blue ribbon for swine at the
Pinal County Fair
During that time the Murphree family sold the farming operation in Gilbert and moved it to Maricopa
where Pat was also managing the Univerity of Arizona's Maricopa Agricultural Center.
After graduation Brent spent several years sowing wild oats. Acting on a goal to travel he went to
work as a GO at Club Med including stints in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and the Turks and
Caicos islands. Several members of the family took advantage of the situation for trips to these
Following Club Med, he worked for ARA Leisure Services as an events coordinator at Lake Powell
planning competitive swims and triathlons and managing the Adopt-A-Canyon program for the
National Parks Service in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
The past 13 years has brought growth in Maricopa in two ways:
The fourth generation of Arizona Murphrees was kicked off with
the birth of Kyle Patrick, followed by McKenzie Peyton, Delanie
Jane, Cayden Knight, Joanna Mae, and Bethany Hope. And,
Maricopa has grown from a small farming community into a
The impact of Maricopa has been substantial in the lives of the
Immediately upon graduation, Brent spent time at on a construction project with an American sponsored school in
Upon his return he enrolled at Mesa Community College before going on to Grand Canyon College and finally receiving his
degree from the College of Public Programs at Arizona State University.
Most summers were spent coaching swim teams and life guarding for the communities of Maricopa and Chandler.
From 1984 through 1986 he worked as an Administrative Intern in the City Manager's Office at the City of Chandler acting as
assistant public information officer. During a time of rapid growth in the Phoenix Metro area, Brent was privy to the process
that established the valley's freeway system, helped initiate changes in municipal communication processes and gained
experience in public management.
Two years after moving to Maricopa, brother Curt was born and for over 10 years Maricopa became the home base to any
number of activities and business ventures.
Choir practice, swim team, basketball, football, FFA, 4-H were some of the organized activities. Summers at the
Murphrees' included lots of kids, chopping cotton and trimming pistachio trees. Brent cut cotton stocks, disked wheat
stubble, cleaned ditches, fed livestock and irrigated crops on the farm.
Brent attended Maricopa Schools from the third grade through the completion of high School. During that time he also
swam competitively with the Chandler/Tempe Marlins winning a first place in the 1977 Fiesta Bowl swim meet. He
attended 4-H leadership conferences including a humanities workshop in Washington, DC
In 1993 Brent went to work for Kramer Publications as a advertising consultant. While with
the company he won two Arizona Newspaper Association awards for advertising.
He also intensified his activities in the political realm. In 1994 he managed the state
senatorial campaign for then state representative Roger Hooper. He was also participated
with the Barbara Barrett for Governor effort.
In 1994 Brent was elected treasurer of the Pinal County Republican Cental Committee and
also served as chairman of the Western Pinal County district for Republican Central
That year at the Arizona Republican Convention he was nominated three time from the floor
to represent Pinal County at the national convention.
It was also during this time that he was asked to join the Maricopa Rotary Club and
assumed the office of club treasurer which he maintained for 15 years.
Mrs. Sandweg's sixth
grade class 1972
Tamazunchale, Mexico 1977
Maricopa High School
Coaching the swim team at
Arrowhead Pool in Chandler.
Close to Heaven - Early morning
water skiing on Lake Powell
Scaring babies - Holding Delaney
on the old Murphree Farm in
Advancing Education - Presenting former Chandler High
School Principal Bob Caccamo with the Arizona Alliance for
Math, Science and Technology Education Principal of the
Old Habits Die Hard - Motorcycles
and tacos outside of Guedo's Taco
Shop in Chandler
Another Amazing Day - Annie
Murphree at six hours old.
The Murphree Clan 2005 in front of the Historical
Murphree house in Tumbleweed Park, Chandler -
Back row; Patrick, Julie, Brent, Bethany, Jennifer.
Front; Kyle, Julie Jo, Cayden, Delaney, McKenzie,
Pennee, Annie, Pat
In 2008, he made a lateral move in the cotton industry. His new
employer, the Cotton Board, is the oversight arm of the of the
Cotton Research and Promotion Program. Instead of working on
legislative and policy issues in the west, he now works as a
Regional Communications Manager for the Cotton Board -
promoting the benefits of American cotton.
All rights reserved - Brent Murphree
On the ground
after skydiving in Utah
In 1967 tragedy struck the Murphree family. Rex Neely, Pat's brother-in-law, was killed in traffic
accident. Not only did it leave a hole in the family, it also left no one to run the Neely farm in Maricopa.
Pat's sister, Louise, asked him to run the farm for her.
The Rotary club was a means for Brent to promote his passion
for education. Each year the Maricopa Rotary Club provides
scholarships to Maricopa area students for advanced learning.
In 1996, Brent joined the National Cotton Council as a member
services representative. His passion for American ideals and
his background in Arizona agriculture made for a perfect fit with