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Great Falls —Dennis Murphy, 63, passed away peacefully at 2:00 pm on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, in Lincoln, MT ending his courageous battle with PTSD and cancer.
Services will be held on Monday, November 4, 2013 at 2:00 pm at the Holy Spirit Church. Cremation has taken place under the direction of O'Connor Funeral Home.
Dennis was born to Edward and Dolores Murphy on September 10, 1950. He was the eldest of 5 children and grew up in Great Falls. Dennis was always a very charismatic, charming, and quick-witted person. He was very well liked and popular, frequently the joker and the cool guy of the group. He was always driving fancy cars, he was fantastic drummer, and a great skier, both snow and water. Being someone with a good sense of humor and a silly personality, you could find him skiing on the hills of Showdown in his mother's mink coat.
Dennis was an avid outdoorsman. He shared his love of the outdoors with his three children by taking them camping, fishing, and hunting. In the summer, he would often take them to Holter Lake to go camping or to ice fish in the winter. During the hunting season, he would take his son to the Bob Marshall wilderness and travel by horse back to their hunting camp. It was not as important for him to bring home an elk, as it was to be in the mountains spending time with his son and his friends.
Dennis was also a carpenter. He spent most of his life in construction building homes, cabins, and from time to time forts and giant snow igloos complete with kitchens for his children and nephew. Dennis, being the entertainer that he was, constantly tried to make his kids laugh and have a good time, from being purposely charged by a bull to taking them sledding and gopher hunting. And he would always try to make light of the worst situations by making fun of himself and down playing any hardship with humor. During all of the times of stress and hardship, although covering it with laughter, Dennis was suffering. Dennis was a Vietnam Veteran in the United States Navy, surviving a plane crash during the war. He was discharged from the Navy in 1977 and returned to Great Falls from the Philippines, where he was stationed and met his first wife, Josefina Baje. Together they had 3 children. In 1994 he met his second wife Judy Tocco and the two of them married in Lake Tahoe in 1995 and remained married until his death.
In 2000, he was finally diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the illness that he suffered from since his tour in the Vietnam War. It led to a life long battle with a variety of illnesses that resulted in a December 2011 diagnosis of both Lung and Esophageal Cancer. Dennis would often retreat to the mountains when going through difficult times. The mountains were a place that he felt the happiest and most at peace and it was also the place that he chose to live the rest of his life.
Dennis is survived by his wife Judy Tocco-Murphy of Great Falls; his ex-wife Josefina Baje of Great Falls; son Christopher (Brittney) Murphy of Bozeman; daughters Michelle (Damon) Fleming of Seattle, Jennifer (Drew) Fleming of Bozeman; step-son Nicholas (Carrie) Tocco of Ketchikan, AK; step-daughter Cori Lee (Arnoldo) Tapia, of Juneau, AK; sisters Chauna (Mark) Bressler of Cleveland, OH and Kelly (Dana) Audet of Great Falls; brothers Timothy and Edward Murphy both of Great Falls; grandsons Kyran Murphy and Dylan Fleming of Bozeman; granddaughters Chloe Murphy and Lelaina Fleming of Bozeman; and step-grandsons Tony Tocco of Ketchikan, AK and Austin Tapia of Juneau, AK.
He is preceded in death by his parents Edward T. Murphy and Dolores "Dody" (Childs) Murphy.
Condolences may be left online at www.oconnorfuneralhome.com.
Published in Great Falls Tribune on Oct. 30, 2013