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Royse Peak Murphy (1914 - 2012)

Obituary
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Murphy, Royse Peak

Ithaca: Royse Murphy, Professor Emeritus at Cornell University, died peacefully Monday, December 31, 2012 at age 98 at Cedar Hill Health Care Center in Windsor, Vermont. Born May 2, 1914 in Norton, Kansas to the late John and Mabel (Peak) Murphy, Dr. Murphy graduated from Kansas State College in 1936 and earned a PhD. in plant genetics from the University of Minnesota in 1941. A WWII veteran, he served as a radar officer aboard the USS Caswell, an attack cargo ship carrying supplies to the battle of Okinawa. After the war, Dr. Murphy joined Cornell University as an Associate Professor in 1946. He remained at Cornell for the rest of his life, serving as a Professor (1948-1979), Chairman of Plant Breeding (1953-1964), Dean of the Faculty (1964-1967), and Professor Emeritus (1979-2012). During his career, he and his coworkers developed many varieties of alfalfa and forage grasses. He also worked in many countries including Chile and Nigeria. He was a member of several professional societies and published extensively. Until afflicted by a stroke in June 2011, Dr. Murphy remained active in alfalfa research. With Dr. Lee B. Kass, he published The Evolution of Plant Breeding: a Centennial History 1907 -2006. When not at work, Dr. Murphy enjoyed gardening, hunting, fishing, and hiking, often with his family. He was well known as a raconteur, and over the years enjoyed keeping up with his many graduate students. He was predeceased by his wife Mildred Sneed Murphy, his daughter Lynne Murphy, and his brothers Grayson and Roger Murphy. His survivors include two daughters, Janice Ivkovich of Granger, Indiana and Jeanne Thompson of Meriden, New Hampshire; three grandchildren, Jill Ivkovich Sandilla of Wexford, Pennsylvania, Cheryl Ivkovich Wyma of Traverse City, Michigan, and Kevin Ivkovich of Vandalia, Michigan; and three great-grandchildren. A memorial gathering will be held in Ithaca, NY in early summer. The family expresses its profound gratitude to the staff at Cedar Hill for the compassion and care given Dr. Murphy. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Munger/Murphy Award for Outstanding Graduate Students in Plant Breeding are welcome (Cornell University, Plant Breeding and Genetics Main Office, 240 Emerson Hall, Ithaca, New York 14853), or the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology (159 Sapsucker Woods, Ithaca, NY 14850).

Published in Ithaca Journal from Jan. 3 to Jan. 5, 2013
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