Rev. John W. Murphy, affectionately known as Brother John to his congregations and Daddy John to his family, passed away at age 80 at Pulaski Community Hospital in Pulaski, VA on May 19, 2012, due to complications of lymphoma.
John was born Nov 22, 1931, to George R. and Mary Rose Murphy in Danville, KY. He was raised in Standford and St. Matthews, KY. After graduating from Louisville Male High School in 1949, he served in the U. S. Navy during 1951-1955, first stationed at Moffett Airfield and later in the Philippines.
A strong believer in education, he earned a Bachelors of Science degree followed by a Masters degree in Genetics in 1957, both from the University of Kentucky, a Bachelor of Divinity in 1963 and a Master of Theology in 1969, both from the Lexington Theological Seminary.
Beginning in 1961, John ministered at Bethlehem Christian Church, North Middletown Christian Church, and 26 years at Florence Christian Church (FCC) in Kentucky. While at FCC, he led the development and management of three senior citizen complexes and a day care center. Somehow, he also found time to make ceramics in his basement for the church and community. After allegedly retiring, he served as the interim minister of Summerset Christian Church, Hillsville Christian Church, and First Christian Church of Pulaski. For the last 11 years, he preached at Newbern Christian Church which he helped to revive. He preached his last sermon on Apr 29, 2012, three weeks before his death.
John influenced a great number of people through his work as a minister and as a Scoutmaster. He led groups on many adventures: yearly youth camping trips at Dale Hollow Lake, an 85 day Scout camping trip to Alaska in 1963, five trips to the Holy Land, trips to the Grand Canyon, Florida, the Outer Banks, and countless other trips.
Many people benefited from his hobbies. His photographs decorate many homes and churches. He was a great cook and cooked for many church and family gatherings. John liked gardening and decorating the church. For many years, he led bell choirs and choirs, and he enjoyed singing in his beautiful tenor voice. He loved nature, hiking, pulling skiers, fishing, and camping. As a young man, he spent several summers camping on a remote island on Dale Hollow Lake, and after retiring, he and his wife, Verl Ann, spent six summers working as a camp host in Haines, Alaska.
John had a great love for his family. He lovingly called Verl Ann by the nickname “Wife.” He often referred to his five daughters by their birth order calling them Daughter Number 1, Daughter Number 2 . . . . Loving to travel, he took his family on many adventurous trips including multiple trips to Hawaii and a 78 day camping trip out west and to Alaska. His pet dogs and horse were an important part of his family.
John is survived by his wife, Verl Ann, and his daughters: Maria Ehme, her husband Jeff, and their three children; Martha Allen, her husband Ric, and their six children; Lois Lee, her husband Darrell, and their three children; Sarah Blank and her husband Ken; Ruth Wagers and her husband Shannon; and his horse Cheyanne.
The Visitation will be 6:00-8:00 PM, Monday, May 21 at Thomas M. Seagle & Sons Funeral Home, 415 Jefferson Ave. N. , Pulaski, VA. The funeral service will be held at First Christian Church of Pulaski, 524 N. Jefferson Ave, Pulaski, VA, 11:00 AM Tuesday, May 22. A memorial service is being planned for John in Florence, KY.
Memorial donations may be mailed to Newbern Christian Church, 5183 Wilderness Rd, P.O. Box 325, Newbern, VA 24126, where they will be sent to two of John’s favorite charities: Heifer International and Week of Compassion.