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Owen Murphy

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Owen Murphy Obituary
Owen J. Murphy Jr., 86

WORCESTER - Owen James Murphy Jr., 86, of Worcester died Friday, May 11, 2018, at St. Vincent's Hospital in Worcester. He leaves his beloved wife of 60 years, Eleanor Domenica (Megale) Murphy, their daughter, Elizabeth Ann Murphy of Boston, and two sons, Owen J. Murphy III, PhD, and his wife, Kathleen, PhD, and Michael J. Murphy and his wife, Josephine, all of Worcester; he also leaves their son-in-law, Jeffrey W. Stidham, J.D., of Bartow, Fla., and eight grandchildren, Susan Murphy Stidham Swiedals and her husband Daniel of Jacksonville, Fla., and Owen Daniel, Eleanor Avis, Kathleen Megale, Mary Josephine, Dominic Thomas, Sean Michael and Brigid Elizabeth Murphy, all of Worcester, and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was predeceased by two daughters, Susan Marie Murphy of Worcester and Mary Ellen Murphy Stidham of Bartow, Fla. and by two sisters and two brothers, Mary Elizabeth Murphy, Madeleine (Murphy) Reeves (Henry A.), David W. Murphy (Callie M.) and Charles A. Murphy.

Born in Worcester, the son of Owen J. and E. Marie (Kelley) Murphy, Owen was graduated from Adams Square Elementary School, St. John's High School and St. Michael's College before earning his master's degree at the College of Journalism at Columbia University. He was a reporter at the Worcester Telegram before entering the U.S. Army during the Cold War of the 1950s. For nearly two years thereafter he was editor of Hell on Wheels, the newspaper of the Second Armored Division, in Germany.

Owen and Eleanor, a program director with the Army's Special Services, met in Germany and soon after their return to the United States, were married in Coos Bay, Ore., Eleanor's home town. For more than 30 years, a period that included the exciting years that surrounded and followed the Second Vatican Council, Owen was editor of The Catholic Free Press, the newspaper of the Diocese of Worcester.

A prolific and sometimes-challenging writer, Owen had been published widely and in 1990 was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree by his alma mater, St. Michael's. In 2000, at the invitation of Bishop Daniel P. Reilly, he authored a history of the Diocese of Worcester, on the occasion of its golden jubilee, "'There Were Giants In Those Days'." With Abbot Gabriel Gibbs, O.S.B., founding abbot of St. Benedict Abbey in Still River, he authored "Harvard To Harvard," a study of the evolution of a raucous student center in Cambridge to highly-respected Benedictine monasteries for men and women in Harvard and Petersham.

The funeral will be held Friday, May 18, from the Athy Memorial Home, 111 Lancaster St., Worcester, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. in Christ the King Church, 1052 Pleasant St., Worcester. Burial will follow in St. John's Cemetery. Calling hours at the funeral home are Thursday, May 17, from 5 to 8 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, gifts are invited to the Food Pantry at St. John's Church, 44 Temple Street, Worcester 01604, or to the Father Maurice Ouellet Scholarship Fund at St. Michael's College, One Winooski Park, Colchester, Vt. 05439.
Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette from May 13 to May 16, 2018
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