Kenneth R. Murphy, of Wilmington, passed away at his residence.
He was born in Cumberland County, NC, on April 3, 1939, the son of the late William Raymond Murphy and Margaret Baggett.
Best known for 40 years as WECT-TV6's news anchor, he began his broadcasting career early on traveling with the local 4-H club to do a broadcast on an AM radio station in Raleigh. Part-time jobs in radio followed in his hometown of Fayetteville, NC. This love of broadcasting led him to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he double-majored in radio, television and motion pictures, plus creative writing. A 3- year enlistment with the US Air Force followed where he served with Armed Forces Radio and Television at bases in Spain and Germany. For the next four decades, Ken held many positions at WECT-TV6 from Reporter to News Director and, his favorite, News Anchor. Leading up to his retirement in 2004, he enjoyed mentoring the up and coming future broadcasters. He is credited with launching the career of WECT's Frances Weller. He and Weller anchored the news together for 20 years becoming the longest running anchor team in Southeastern North Carolina.
His co-workers knew him as "Murph" and, along with his viewers, enjoyed his dry sense of humor and encyclopedic knowledge of local history. For many years he moderated the annual History Bowl, featuring teams of young people. He also took great joy in serving in the ceremonial role of Ringmaster when the circus came to town. More than anything, though, Kenneth R. Murphy was a news man. He knew what was going on locally and around the world and he told us about it every night with precision and authority and in a warm and rumbling voice.
Surviving are his wife, Cheryl Murphy; daughter, Michelle Murphy and husband Kevin Parker of Wilmington; sister, Darlene McLaurin of Fayetteville; two brothers, David Murphy and William Douglas "Butch" Murphy, both of Fayetteville; and sister, Barbara Murphy Doucette of Lake Havasu City, AZ. He is preceded in death by his longtime four-legged companion, Zeus.
A celebration of life ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Andrews Mortuary Market Street Chapel. Inurnment will follow in Oleander Memorial Gardens Mausoleum.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Cape Fear Literacy Council, 1012 S. 17th Street, Wilmington, NC 28401 or the New Hanover County Humane Society, 2405 N 23rd Street, Wilmington, NC 28401.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.andrewsmortuary.com.
A Market St. Chapel Service.