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Francis "Frank" J. Murphy, 1936 - 2023
Sailor, Singer, Community Volunteer
October 12, 2023

Obituary and life story submitted by the family

rancis J. Murphy Jr. was born in Cambridge, MA, on July 14, 1936, and passed from this earthly plane on October 2, 2023. He was the husband of the late Kathleen Gardner Murphy.

Frank Murphy
Frank sailing his Catalina 30.

Known to most as Frank, he grew up in Cambridge, MA, and graduated from Cambridge High and Latin. He attended Boston Technical College and was an Army National Guard member in the infantry division.

Frank embarked on a 32-year career with IBM when he was just 19 years old. He began repairing typewriters in Boston and became a field engineer and manager. He was part of the team that developed the revolutionary IBM Selectric typewriter and earned multiple awards for his ingenuity.

Frank Murphy
Sailing on the Hudson River in the Aquarius.

He learned to sail on the Charles River, which sparked a lifelong love of sailing. Frank and Kathleen retired from East Fishkill, NY, to Oriental, NC, in 1991 to pursue that passion. He was Commodore of the Chelsea Yacht Club on the Hudson River in 1989, a member of the Sea Harbor Yacht Club in Oriental, taught the U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s course for many years at Pamlico Community College, and gave lessons at the Minnesott YMCA summer sailing camp in NC.

In addition to sailing, Frank loved and played ice hockey, tennis, and softball. He coached Little League baseball and youth hockey for his sons for decades.

Kathleen and Frank singing at the Lathrop’s boat dedication.

Frank was very community-minded. He and Kathleen were Hospice volunteers for many years, and he ran the music program for the Memory Care Unit at The Gardens of Pamlico for several years. He was tough as nails, strong as an ox, could fix anything, and always gave a willing hand to anyone who needed his help.

Frank had many interests and hobbies, including camping, wood carving, and antique clock repair. Between 2007 and 2010, he was part of the volunteer group that restored the historic 2,800 lb. Seth Thomas clock in New Bern, NC, and moved it to the North Carolina History Center.

Performing a Christmas concert from from a porch in Oriental

Most significant was his lifelong love of music and entertaining. He was a great singer who started performing at a young age and continued throughout his life.

He played in several bands, including the Irish Beggarmen, the Glen Folk, the Irish Minstrels, and the UHOOs ukulele group, as well as appearing at the IBM Tech Conference in 1968 and in countless plays, choruses, Irish and folk shows, and sold-out performances at the annual St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser at St. Peter the Fisherman Catholic Church for 17 years with his family.

He passed along his love of music to all of his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Wherever he was, there was music. That legacy will live on through his family.

Frank with The Irish Minstrels.

Frank is survived by his six children, Brian Murphy and his wife, Marian, Laura Baldridge and her husband, Braxton, Stephanie Murray and her husband, Johnny, Cindy Mendel and her husband, Steve, Christopher Murphy and his wife, Jenelyn, and Gardner Murphy, widower of Rebecca Hammer; five grandchildren, Brendon Murphy and his wife, Carolyn, Kye Murphy and his wife, Andrea, Caylin Murray, Jenna Mendel, and Devyn Murray; and seven great grandchildren, Nora, Conley, Aidan, Annalise, Sean, Phineas, and Ephraim.

Frank is also survived by his sister, Anne Buonopane, and her husband, Domenic, of Dorchester, MA, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Frank Murphy
Frank and Kathleen at the Chelsea Yacht Club Commodore Celebration, on the Hudson River.

A small family memorial will be held in Lawrence, MA, on November 4, 2023. A second celebration of life will take place in Oriental at a future date, to be determined. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice of Pamlico County in Bayboro, NC, or Carilion Hospice Services of Roanoke, VA.

Posted Thursday October 12, 2023 by Allison DeWeese

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