Obituary of John J. Murphy
John Murphy, 84, of East Greenbush, passed away March 7, 2019, in Carmel, Indiana. Born April 7, 1935, in Albany, New York, he is predeceased by his parents John and Helen (Stodolski) Murphy, his wife, Barbara (Schafer) Murphy, his sisters Rosemary (Borowsky) DiPace and Irene (Borowsky) Barnick, and his brother, Stanley Borowsky.
John graduated from Philip Schuyler High School in 1953 with a vocational degree and plans to become a printer. However, over the summer of 1953 he was persuaded by a teacher to return to school for another year in order to complete an academic program required to attend university. John did, and in autumn 1954 he enrolled in Hamilton College. John struggled at first, almost quitting, but the intervention of another teacher persuaded him to persevere, and in 1958 he graduated with a Bachelors Degree in history.
After graduation, John enlisted in the Navy, but he received a two-year educational deferment in order to earn a Masters Degree in education at Wesleyan University. In 1960, John graduated from Wesleyan, entered Officer Candidate School, and by October that year, began a three-year stint as a naval line officer, serving on the USS Lenawee and USS Chukawan. It was during his time in the Navy, while on shore leave in 1961, that he met Barbara Schafer at a bar in Albany. John offered to buy Barbara a drink, and she asked for a whisky. He used to joke that he knew at that moment that she was the woman he would marry. They did, on August 17, 1963.
After his discharge from active duty and a short honeymoon in Washington, D.C., John and Barbara moved from Albany to Rochester, New York, where he began his career in education as a teacher at West High School. In 1965, John took a job at the Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) in Buffalo, New York, where he worked until 1973. During that time, John and Barbara had three sons, Michael, Timothy, and John. He also earned his Doctorate in Education from the State University of New York at Buffalo. In 1973, he joined the New York State Department of Education as Director of Planning and Support Services. John and his family moved from Rochester to East Greenbush in May 1974. John worked for the NYS Department of Education for 20 years, retiring in 1993 as Assistant Commissioner.
John loved Albany and the Capital District Region, but he loved his wife more, and when her health required it in 2017, they moved to Indiana so they could be closer to one of their children. John enjoyed reminiscing about his youth on Livingston Avenue and North Lark Street, and during retirement enjoyed regular lunches with a group of old friends who called themselves the Arbor Hill Bulldogs. The “old neighborhood” had the power to shake off some of the worst effects of the Alzheimer’s that ultimately caused his death. A last visit to his boyhood home in May 2017 brought a smile to his face and sparkle to his eyes as he regaled the current occupants of 269 Livingston Avenue with stories of his childhood.
John was an avid golfer, and after leaving the NYS Department of Education, he began a never-ending quest to play as many of the great courses as possible, traveling to England, Scotland, and Ireland to do so. He was also a passionate reader, serving for a time as a member of the board for the East Greenbush Library. John skied until his bad knees finally made it impossible. He loved the New York Yankees and the New York Football Giants, passions he passed along to his sons. The Murphy boys would gather whenever possible for a weekend in New York City that included a game at Yankee Stadium.
John is survived by his sons Michael (Kimberly) Murphy, Timothy (Ann) Murphy, and John (Connie) Murphy; by his grandchildren John William, Alexander, Caroline, and Owen Murphy; by his cousins Carol Ann (Gatto) Siemion, Paul Constantine, Ruth (Constantine) Martin, Ann Marilyn (Kutryb) LaBlanc, Patricia (Kutryb) McGarvey, Peggy Burke, and Timothy Burke; and by many nephews, nieces, grand nephews and grand nieces, and grand dogs.
Funeral services will be held at Holy Spirit Church 667 Columbia Tpk.East Greenbush, New York, on March 14, 2019, at 10:30 am with Father John Bradley officiating (calling hours 9:30-10:30 am at church). Burial will follow at Saratoga National Cemetery. William J. Rockefeller Funeral Home is handling the funeral arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association online at www.alz.org.
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