~ From The Arizona Republican — April 30, 1927

Mrs. Ellen A. Brophy, prominent Phoenix church woman (sic) and philanthropist, yesterday announced plans for an endowment foundation of a great educational institution, to be located on North Central avenue (sic). Actual work on the college, dedicated to the boys of Arizona in memory of her late husband, will start within the next 90 days.

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    Brophy College Preparatory was the gift of Ellen Brophy in memory of her husband, William Henry Brophy, who died in a boating accident in the Gulf of California, Nov. 14, 1922. According to Mrs. Brophy, the school "will be dedicated to the young people of Arizona in which Mr. Brophy had a most paternal interest."

    William Henry Brophy
    Born in Ireland in 1863 and orphaned at a young age, William Henry Brophy was raised by his grandmother. He left school in eighth grade and in 1881 at the age of 19, he borrowed money and moved to America where he traveled west to Arizona and took a job at a sawmill in the Chiricahua Mountains.

    Hardworking and ambitious, he moved to Bisbee, Arizona, where a new mine was being developed, and became manager of a small mining store. By the turn of the century, he had founded the Bank of Bisbee, serving as its president, and had acquired banking and land interests around Phoenix. He later became general manager of the Phelps Dodge Mercantile Company and was instrumental in its success.

    During World War I, he interrupted his career to serve his country, taking charge of the Red Cross supply chain in Europe while stationed in France. On Nov. 13, 1922, he sailed from Guaymas, Mexico, on a fishing trip. A storm hit and he was swept overboard. His body was recovered on Dec. 12, 1922. He left behind his wife, Ellen Amelia Brophy, and his son, Frank Cullen Brophy, as well as a fortune of $2 million (over $30 million in today's dollars), the largest estate ever probated in Arizona at that time.
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    • Mrs. William Henry Brophy

      Donated by the Brophy family, this painting hangs above Brophy Chapel's east entrance.

Banner photo: Mrs. William Henry Brophy breaks ground for Brophy College (Brophy College Preparatory) on Jan. 18, 1928. Also present are Fr. Felix Rossetti, SJ, and Mrs. Brophy's grandchildren, (left to right) Patricia, Alice, Bill and Blake.