Obituary : Stephen G. Murphy
Stephen Garth Murphy, age 86, died on Thursday, July 10. Born in Schenectady, N.Y., on April 27, 1922, the son of Theodore Rodes and Stephanie Murphy, he was predeceased by his wife of 52 years, Maureen Murphy.
He spent much of his youth in Trinidad and Panama. After his father died in 1928, his mother married Byron Brown, a decorated United States Army captain who had been severely wounded in World War I. The family, which also included his older sister Sylvia, moved to Martha's Vineyard in 1933. He attended grammar school in West Tisbury's one-room schoolhouse and then graduated from Martha's Vineyard High School where he achieved many honors including class president, class valedictorian, and starring in football, basketball, and baseball. Byron's sister and his aunt, Ruth Brown, lived with his family on Music Street, and was an important part of his upbringing.
He attended West Point military academy for one year and then enlisted in the U.S. Army combat infantry. He attended Williams College for one year where he played football and basketball. He then volunteered for the Army Air Corps, where he earned his wings as a B-17 pilot in the Eighth Air Force in World War II. After completing his combat missions in 386th heavy bombardment group based in England, he returned to Williams where he graduated in 1950 with a degree in economics and was president of the Psi Upsilon fraternity for two years.
He worked for Raybestos-Manhattan in Stratford, Conn., for 12 years in sales and marketing. He joined Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith in 1962, where he became a successful stockbroker, achieving membership in the Charles Merrill circle before his retiring as First Vice-President in June of 2000.
A long-time resident of the Morningside neighborhood in Milford, he served on the Milford Board of Education.
He always loved the Vineyard and especially South Beach. His initial connection to South Beach off Chilmark Pond was delivering the Saturday Evening Post on his bicycle to Priscilla Hancock who lived down a long dirt road. Throughout his early years, whether as a teenager, a military man home on leave or summer vacations from college, he always found solace, strength and renewal with a swim in the ocean at South Beach. When the Hancock Beach Association was formed in the early 1950s, he became an inaugural member of the Association and continued to spend weeks every summer enjoying daily trips to South Beach. Later he became President of the association for many years and was dedicated to preserving the beauty of the dunes and the beach as he had always known them. He was honored for all of his years of service with the title President Emeritus of the Hancock Beach Association.
After his retirement from Merrill Lynch, he settled into a house he built on Music Street, which was on the same plot as the house where he spent his childhood. The highlights of the summers were daily trips to Alley's General Store, South Beach, family reunions and rooting for the Red Sox. In addition to his four children, he was also blessed by eight grandchildren, all of whom were indoctrinated into the necessity of a daily trip and swim at Hancock Beach.
The anchor in his life was his wife Maureen, who was his constant companion for 52 years before her passing in 2004 from ALS. He and Maureen celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on July 21, 2001 with a gala party at Music Street. He cherished his long-standing friendships and relationships with his Vineyard friends including multiple generations of Bryants, Hulls, Whitings, Alleys, Manters and many others.
The other place of importance in his life was Williams College, where he returned numerous times every year to greet old classmates and friends as well as enjoy the beauty of the Purple Valley. He proudly served as a Reunion Chair for the Class of 1950's 50th reunion.
He will be remembered by his family, friends and colleagues for his leadership, character, generosity, kindness, and sense of humor. He was an avid tennis and platform tennis player as well as a passionate swimmer and jogger. He loved to read books, particularly a good mystery novel. He loved to regale listeners (willing and reluctant) with stories about his numerous interesting life experiences from growing up on a mahogany plantation in Trinidad to high school exploits on the playing fields to military life and combat to fraternity escapades to the ups and downs of working for a big corporation.
He was completely devoted to his wife and children and would make every effort to provide them with his love, support and dedication, putting them first in every way.
He is survived by his four children and eight grandchildren: Stephen G. Murphy Jr., his wife Carolyn and their children Matthew and Maura of Guilford, Conn., Sarah Murphy, her husband Gregory Barron and their children Theodore, William, Stephanie and Katherine of London, England; Theodore, his wife Ann DuCharme and their children Theodore and Julia of Cincinnati, Ohio, and David Murphy of Pawtucket, R.I. He was predeceased by his sister, Sylvia.
His funeral service will be held in the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury on Saturday, July 19, at 2 pm with burial to follow in the West Tisbury Cemetery. In lieu flowers, please make donations to the Sheriff's Meadow Foundation, Wakeman Conservation Center, RRI Box 319X, Vineyard Haven, MA. 02568. The Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, located on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road in Oak Bluffs, is in charge of the arrangements.