GILFORD — Jim Murphy was helping a handicapped man onto a boat at the town docks about 2:15 pm. Wednesday when the man he was assisting lost his footing.

Murphy tried to catch him and keep him safe. They both ended up in the water and under the dock, said Murphy’s wife of 48 years, Cindy Murphy.

They clung to the dock and struggled to keep their heads above the surface before Good Samaritans and Marine Patrol personnel heard shouts, rushed over and got them out of the water.

Moments later, they both became unresponsive, according to a state police news release. CPR was started and the men were taken to Lakes Region General Hospital, where Jim Murphy died. The other man recovered.

“It was a fast deal and they both went in,” Cindy Murphy said.

The accident occurred just as a neighbor was going to drive them on his boat to Welch Island, where the Murphy family owns a home.

“The boat wasn’t tied up to the docks,” she said. “They were anticipating hopping in and going like they’ve done millions of times.”

For a dozen years, Jim and Cindy Murphy, of Laconia, have provided home care for the disabled man, who is 71. Cindy Murphy said this man was released from a hospital Thursday and is doing well.

Jim Murphy, 66, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, but grew up in Gilford and spent much of his childhood on Welch Island, swimming, boating and spending time with friends and family.

He worked in the construction industry for 35 years.

“He was very helpful, multi-talented,” Cindy Murphy said. “He knew how to fix just about anything.

“He liked the outdoors and loved his family, especially his grandsons. He taught them how to hunt, go snowmobiling and three-wheeling.

“The other thing Jim loved was to go on cruises and gamble on the ship.”

Jim Murphy’s brother, Pat Murphy, said his brother was “loving, caring and will be missed.”

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