Eugene J. Murphy, who loved a good joke, died Sunday, January 12, 2014 at the age of 86 with his family at his bedside. His friend's figure that the first thing he will say to St. Peter will be "Have you heard the one about the
." In an uncharacteristic act of planning, he wrote his own obituary including this sentence, the one above, and most of those that follow.
I have a carefully nurtured reputation among many acquaintances. For the few friends whom I have not alienated for never being on time for any engagement, save this one! I died on Sunday the 12th. In keeping with the aforesaid reputation, my epitaph should read "He was supposed to be here hours ago." Born on September 24, 1927 in a bedroom on McDougal Street in Brooklyn, the youngest of three children, I was named for the doctor who delivered me, and for an elegant, handsome uncle named Eugene and for Gene Tunney, the boxer who bested Jack Dempsey on September 22, to retain the world's heavyweight championship. (I myself have never been in the ring.) I served for two years in the U.S. Navy in the waning years of World War II, went to a state college in Colorado where I majored in English, and met my first wife. We married in Chicago, moved east and, after graduating from New York University, found work as a newspaper reporter, columnist and editor for New Jersey dailies in Hackensack and Passaic. In the second half of my working life, I served as a press contact and employee corporate communications manager for PSEG, the New Jersey gas and electric utility company, and served briefly as a writing instructor at St. Peter's College in Jersey City, NJ. The beauty I discovered in Colorado guided our four children through their early years and managed the checkbook while I preened paragraphs until 1991, when she succumbed, with unsurpassing grace, to lymphatic lymphoma. While I was graduating from grammar school in Queens, NY, a little 5 year old girl was living in Holland. The girl eventually came to the United States and became a US citizen. In 1991, we met on a blind date and in 1993, we married and resided in New Jersey. In 2000, we moved to Palm Coast, FL to live out our retirement years. Sanneke, who will now always have to gas her own car, survives, as do my daughters, Kathleen Murphy and her husband, Peter Mullen., Montclair, NJ, Mary Ann Murphy, Clifton, NJ, Patricia Murphy ad her husband, Flint Crumpacker, Seattle, WA, my son Thomas Murphy, West Milford, NJ, Stepchildren Nikki Webb and her husband Randy, Palm Coast, FL, Raymond van Straten, his wife Chris and their son Timmy, Chino Hills, CA, Karen Kronenfeld, her husband Jeff, daughters Rachel and Becky and son Zachary, Sparta, NJ; Granddaughters Genevieve Murphy-Bradacs and her husband Matt Ventura, and Emily Murphy-Mullen; Grandsons James and Michael Murphy and Owen Crumpacker, Great Grandchildren Beatrice and Benjamin Ventura and my dog Boefie.
Gene Murphy was passionate about grammar, gardening, and grist for his stories. A keen observer of life, he followed the writer Eudora Welty's advice to "listen for stories." He found those stories in the most unlikely places and shared them without reservation. We are all the richer for his gift - and poorer with his loss. A natural communicator; he garnered awards for both his newspaper and corporate writing as well as his poetry. A member of the Tomoka Poets, he is the winner of the 2013 Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award and his work is included in Love and Other Passions, an anthology of poets. He attended the 2012 Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark and seized the opportunity to share his poetry at an open mike event. Gene is a past president of the New Jersey Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and IABC District 1. Above all, he was a devoted Christian and remained steadfast in his faith. He attended the 8am service every Sunday at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Palm Coast, as well as the 11:00am service at Hammock Community Church, also in Palm Coast, where he was a member of the choir. Because of his love for scripture, he often volunteered to read bible passages to the congregation. The family has comfort knowing that he is at peace in the arms of the Lord. He will be very dearly missed. The family will receive visitors on Friday evening, January 17th from 5pm - 7pm at Lohman Funeral Home Ormond, 733 W. Granada Blvd, Ormond Beach, FL. Funeral services will be held at the same location at 11:00am on Saturday morning the 18th followed by a burial at Daytona Memorial Park, 1425 Bellevue Avenue, Daytona Beach, FL. Donations can be made in his name to his favorite charity, Heifer International, 1 World Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72202. Condolences may be shared with the family at www.lohmanfuneralhomes.com.
Lohman Funeral Home Ormond
733 W Granada Blvd Ormond Beach, FL 32174
Published in Daytona Beach News-Journal from Jan. 15 to Jan. 16, 2014