2010-11-03 / Obituaries

Francis Murphy

Francis “Frank” “Boy” Eugene Daniel Murphy, a lifelong resident of Highland Falls, decorated World War II veteran, retired US Military Academy employee, active church member and community volunteer, died on October 27, 2010, with his loving wife Phyllis by his side, at the Castle Point VA Medical Center, after a long illness associated with a stroke suffered in May 2009. Frank was born on January 10, 1922 in Highland Falls. He was 88.

Frank, better known as Boy, was the sixth of seven children born to Jo Hanna Amanda Trobiz Murphy and William Murphy. Both of Frank’s parents were from a military family. Frank’s father was born and raised at West Point and his mother lived at West Point during her childhood. His family moved to Cooks Lane from West Street in Highland Falls when he was one year old and he lived there with his parents, three sisters and three brothers until he served in WW II. He returned to Cooks Lane after the war in 1945 and remained there until he married Phyllis in 1948. He told many stories about growing up on Cooks Lane. The stories, reminiscent of “Spanky and Our Gang” were told by Frank repeatedly, over the years, with increasing glee. One of these stories explained the genesis of his nickname Boy. As a young child, Francis expressed frustration, to his older siblings about having been given a girl’s name. His extraordinarily sensitive siblings decided to make his day by renaming him Boy a nickname that stayed with him for the rest of his life.

Boy attended Sacred Heart Elementary School and Highland Falls High School. He was an altar boy and an athlete. He enjoyed playing basketball, football, and baseball in high school. He continued playing basketball and baseball into adulthood. He went swimming and skating with his young daughter, sometimes appearing more the playmate than the Dad. This special relationship and enjoyment of sharing sports transitioned from his daughter to his grandchildren when they were born. Although he was a faithful Army football fan his true passion was baseball, which manifested itself in his total, complete, and illogical passion and undying devotion to the New York Mets.

Frank was drafted into World War II in 1942. He attended Basic Training for 20 weeks in Gulfport Mississippi and Nashville Tennessee. He was assigned to the 405th Bomber Group in the European Theater of Operations and was a member of the Armys Air Corps. In 1943 his military occupational specialty was Airplane and Engine Mechanic and in 1944 he was promoted to Crew Chief on a P-47 Aircraft. While a P-47 Crew Chief he crewed for Dean Hess the pilot whose story was told in the film “ Battle Hymn”. Frank always insisted that the role, which Tyrone Power played, was he, Frank Murphy. Frank fought in Ardennes in Central Europe, and Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland; and he participated in the Battle of the Bulge and the Normandy Invasion. He was awarded the American Service Medal, Distinguished Unit Badge European, African Middle Eastern Service Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal. He was discharged from the service on October 25, 1945, as a Staff Sergeant at Fort Dix New Jersey.

In 1945, shortly after his discharge, Phyllis Vander Fehr Yancey, a dear high school friend of Frank’s, introduced Frank to Phyllis Chaney. When Phyllis V. met Phyllis C. she said, “ I have got the perfect person for you.” Phyllis V. was right. Phyllis Chaney and Frank Murphy were married on September 19, 1948 and celebrated their 62nd anniversary this year.

During Frank’s 43 years of service at West Point he worked in the Engineer and Ordinance Divisions, the Management Division of the Comptroller’s Office and the Keller Army Hospital. Notably he held a record for perfect attendance from 1951 to 1983. In fact, the only sick day he ever took was the day that his only child was born in 1951. He retired with 3,900 hours of unused sick leave. This is particularly surprising because during this time period he also earned a degree in Personnel and Business Management at night, while working full-time during the day. When Frank retired on December 31, 1983, he received the Superintendent’s Citation Award for Outstanding Service and was honored by members of Keller Army Hospital with a cadet saber. Frank began a new career of full time garndparenting and volunteer work four months after his retirement when his first grandchild, Will, was born.

He kept busy with a variety of volunteer activities including working as a docent in the gift shop at Constitution Island.

Over the years Boy was a loyal and active member of the Knights of Columbus, holding the position of Treasurer for 35 years. For over 40 years he religiously attended meetings and worked with his brother John at Friday night Bingo with the proceeds benefitting the K of C and Sacred Heart Church. Boy sought the support of his fellow Knights in his work with the Girl Scouts when they supported the Scouts each Christmas by serving hot cocoa and snacks to the girls after their night of Christmas Caroling for the local elderly and disabled. Frank also supported the Sacred Heart Church congregation during his 88 years of membership by serving as an usher at mass, a worker in the food pantry and church thrift shop and as a worker in the annual Lawn Fete Fundraiser.

For the last ten years Frank chauffeured the love of his life, Phyllis, throughout the Hudson Valley and Westchester County to a variety of Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) events in support of education, patriotism, and historic preservation. This was a perfect activity for Frank because he always enjoyed spending time with beautiful women. In 2003 he was officially recognized by the DAR as a HODAR (Husband of a DAR) for Excellence in Community Service.

His wife Phyllis Chaney Murphy, his daughter Phyllis Murphy Lynes, son- in- law William Lynes and grandsons Will and John Lynes, and many nieces and nephews, and grand nieces and nephews survive him. His siblings Gertrude Bock, Elizabeth Leach, Helen Packard, William Murphy, John Murphy, and Thomas Murphy predeceased him.

Visitation will be held from 2-4 & 7-9 on Wednesday, November 3 at William F. Hogan Funeral Home, 135 Main Street, Highland Falls. A funeral mass will celebrated at 10am on Thursday, November 4 at Sacred Heart Church, 353 Main Street, Highland Falls with Rev. Jack Arlotta officiating. Entombment will follow in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Middle Hope.

In lieu of flowers the family has requested that donations be made to Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Counties, Inc., 800 Stony Brook Court Newburgh, NY12550, or the Alzheimer’s Association, Po Box 96011, Washington, D.C. 20090-6011.

Funeral arrangements by William F. Hogan Funeral Home. 845-446-2868 or www. wfhoganfuneralhome.com

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