Joseph Murphy (pictured at right)
October 29, 1965 – August 14, 2015
Joseph Murphy passed away on Aug. 14, 2015 in Juneau, AK. He was 49 yrs. old. He was born in Anchorage, AK on Oct. 29, 1965 to Patrick and Suzanne Murphy. After his father passed away in early 1966, Joseph moved with his mother and siblings to Emmonak, AK where he lived until his adult years.
Joseph moved to Kotzebue, AK in his early 20's to help his eldest sister with her children and also to attend the Kotzebue Technical Center. He always had a natural knack for working with his hands and chose building maintenance as his career field. He worked for the Housing Authority in Kotzebue as well as the school district.
In the mid 1990's he became involved with the Kotzebue Fire Dept as both a volunteer firefighter and ambulance attendant. In 1998 he was chosen as ambulance attendant of the year, an award that really touched his heart.
Joe had a big year in 1998. As well as the award from the Fire Dept. , Joe also met his soul mate, Tammy Jablonski. The first date they had was the beginning of 17 yrs together. They were known as "Tam and Joe" and "that cute little couple".
While working for the National Park Service in Kotzebue, AK in 2000, Joe was involved in the search and rescue of a lost man on the sea ice in a white out. With ice cracking around them, Joe and a coworker were able to locate the lost man and lead him off the ice to safety by snowmobile. Joe and his coworker were recognized by the U.S. Dept. of the Interior that year for valor. They were flown to Washington, D.C. with their spouses/partners for the award ceremony. The man whose life was saved was also a former Guardsman so Joe was also given an award by the Alaska National Guard for heroism. Joe was very proud of his awards and was so happy to be involved with saving a life.
Joe was a member of the Alaska Army National Guard, and deployed to Iraq in 2005. He spent that year at Camp Victory in Baghdad where he was a machine gunner. That year changed his life dramatically. He was never the same upon his return to Alaska.
Joe worked numerous positions in Juneau, but his favorite employer was Bartlett Regional Hospital where he was a maintenance mechanic. He enjoyed the work, his coworkers and being "needed". He was employed there until just weeks prior to his death.
The last year of Joe's life was a true struggle. He battled depression and PTSD both from his childhood and the war. He also suffered from substance abuse, in an effort to stop the pictures that kept replaying in his mind. He sought help on several occasions over the year, but continued to struggle. Along with the PTSD issues Joe also suffered from a serious cardiac condition which claimed his life.
Joe will be remembered for so many things. He had a smile that could light up a room and never met a stranger. He loved hunting and fishing, playing cards with his mother-in-law, eating Tammy's home cooking, his dog, Christmas lights, driving his Silverado, dancing, good music, snowstorms, the NFL and the NBA, the Denver Broncos, snowmobiling, the U.S. military, cowboy movies, playing pool, TV and anything electronic, his Yupik culture and God.
Joe was preceded in death by his father Patrick Murphy Sr., his brother Patrick Murphy Jr., his sister Martha Murphy along with numerous extended family.
He is survived by his black lab Buster Joe, Tammy and her family; mother Geneva Jablonski of Juneau, brothers-in-laws Dan Jablonski (Gordon) of Juneau and Ronald Jablonski Jr. (Paula) of Bismarck, ND and nephews Ronald Jablonski III (Chasity) of Grand Rapids, MI and Lou Jablonski (Patti) of Oceanside, CA and their daughter Isabella. Joe is also survived by many friends, but special mentions are Russell Beal and family of Ketchikan, Patrick Octuck of Nome and Dan Levengood and family of Juneau.
Joe is also survived by his mother and stepfather, Suzanne and Willie Joseph, siblings Kathy Tebbits (Lonnie) and family, Franklin Murphy, John Murphy, and George Murphy as well as a large extended family throughout Alaska.
Condolences can be sent to Tammy Jablonski, 8477 Thunder Mtn. Rd. #80, Juneau, AK 99801. No funeral service will be held in Juneau. Joe will be buried in his hometown of Emmonak, AK. In lieu of flowers, Tammy requests that donations be made in Joe's name to either the Alaska Heart Association
or the Gastineau Humane Society.
Published by Juneau Empire from Aug. 18 to Sep. 17, 2015.