It is almost impossible to give you an idea of William Francis Murphy's life and the essence of who he was and what he stood for in just a few short words, but I will do my best. It was often said that he should have written a book on his life. The book would have been a best seller; not only because of the interesting stories, but also because of all the hardships and challenges that he had dealt with and overcame. Very few people would have had the inner strength to handle the problems and adversity that William was faced with.
We only know but a small amount of the stories he was willing to share with us over the years. William was a very private person. He didn't like to talk about the adversities in his life very often because he did not want anyone to feel sorry for him. On a rare occasion he would share bits of information about his past and we would listen intently. We knew it was such a privilege for him to share it with us.
Being born on March 12, 1929, in the year of The Great Depression, and having to basically fend for himself at a very early age, he faced life on his own, in the streets of Brooklyn New York. To support himself he sold paper bags and fruit on the streets from a cart which was pulled by a horse named Frankie.
In 1942 he enlisted in the US Armed Services during WWII at the age of 13 (NOT A TYPO). This led him to serve his country on it's military ships in the Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean and the Middle East War Zones. Some people lie to avoid serving in a war but he lied about his age to serve in it.
It was in the Engine Rooms of these ships where young William's school was. There he received an education on the mechanics of boilers. Throughout his sea faring years, he proudly served on at least 27 separate ships. During his service to his country, William traveled the world. He saw so much of the globe, that it was easier to ask him where he hasn't been, rather than ask him where he has been. He would always surprise us by speaking a few words in foreign languages that we never even knew he spoke.
He again served his country during the Korean War and unfortunately his ship struck a mine and he became a POW in North Korea. Fortunately he somehow managed to escape. I remember as a child, when he came home he would usually Yell "Don't Pay the Ransom! I Escaped!". It was only later in our life that we learned that he was a POW in North Korea. We finally understood the significance of those words. This also explained why he loved to watch the movie "The Great Escape" and his strong dislike of rice.
Speaking of food, William loved to cook and host Family and Friends for any and all occasion or holiday. At any Murphy Family event, there was always ample food and plenty of fun. William would receive countless compliments and accolades on his cooking. He made the best Italian food that any Irishman on this Earth has ever made. Speaking of the Irish, he also loved Corned Beef or as he would call it "Irish Turkey". Fond memories also exist of him making homemade chocolate pudding that we all greatly enjoyed. William always had a quick wit about him and a few of his favorite expressions were: "Write It on The Ice" or "Tis Himself" or "You Know Me. I'M NOT saying a word" or "Digger O'Dell" and how could we forget "Beep! Beep! I'm a Jeep!"
He took the knowledge of boilers, that he acquired from his years of service on all those ships, and started a career with The City of New York, Department of Public Works. He maintained the heating and cooling systems for NYC Government buildings. William also served as Vice President of his Union Local 1795 of DC-37.
In addition to his full time NYC job, he worked overtime, and then would work a second job so that he could provide a good life for his family. William placed Family and Friends above all else. We believe that is what kept him going for 91 years. Over those 91 years he has helped so many people that there isn't enough room to list everyone that he helped.
One of the many stories that would have been in the book, are that the Family he has today, almost didn't become a reality. When it came time for William and Renee's very first date, each one believed that they were stood up by the other. You see for their first date they had made plans to meet at Renee's place of employment, which at that time was the Union Carbide building in Manhattan. This was a sprawling location that had multiple street entrances and exits. What each one did not know at the time was that they were waiting for each other on opposite entrances of the same building. It was such a large building with so many exits and entrances they never saw one another. When William later telephoned Renee to confront her of standing him up, she had accused him of doing the very same thing. As they say, the rest is history.
William was born in 1929 into turbulent times and crossed over in 2020 during turbulent times as well. Through all of life's serious and extreme challenges and the hurdles he overcame, he managed to keep his compassion, kindness, wisdom, and a sense of humor throughout it all, to the very end.
He wanted to provide for his Family, the Life, Love, and Care that he never had the privilege of receiving while growing up. William was a great success no matter what metric you use to gauge a man's life. He was a Kind, Caring and Loving Husband, Father and Grandfather.
William will forever be cherished and remembered by his devoted wife of 55 years, Renee Murphy, and his two sons, Matthew Murphy & his wife Corinn, and Gary Murphy. William was also blessed with two granddaughters Emma and Sara, a step-granddaughter Dara, and a great-grandson Jaxon.
Born March 12, 1929
Crossed Over May 3, 2020
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