Jim Murphy, 69
James A Murphy Jr, 69, passed away peacefully on Sunday, Sept. 22 at his beloved Block Island home after a lengthy illness. He leaves behind his wife of 47 years, Mary Ellen (Sears) Murphy and his children: James A Murphy III and his wife Lisa (Jeppe) Murphy of Barrington, R.I.; Katherine (Murphy) Foresti and her husband Wayne Foresti of Pawtucket, R.I.; and Patricia Murphy of Block Island. He was the devoted grandfather of Kate-Lynd, Laura, James IV, and Ellen Murphy of Barrington, R.I.; Zachary and Kyle McMahon and MeighanRose Foresti of Pawtucket. Also the children of his heart, Kerrie McAloon, Shannon (McAloon) Merkler and Stephen Fales. He was predeceased by his parents Virginia (Healy) and James A. Murphy and his sister, Lynd (Murphy) Chambers, all of Attleboro, Mass. He leaves a legacy of friendship to many, most especially, his oldest friend and brother of his heart, Rene Trudeau and his wife Jackie of Gainesville, Florida. In his final days, he was surrounded with the love of his family and had the companionship of his faithful dog by his side.
Jim grew up in Pawtucket and Attleboro, Mass. He was a graduate of Attleboro High School, class of 1963. He was Owner/President of James A. Murphy & Son, Inc., County Street, Attleboro, Mass., a jewelry findings firm started by his parents in 1963. For the majority of his working life, he worked in all aspects of the family shop. He became President upon the passing of his father in 1979 and passed control to his son upon his own retirement in 1992. In the 1980s he served as President of the Metal Findings Manufacturing Association, an internationally active group. He was a descendant of J. T. Healy, the first manufacturer of seamless bead findings. As a sixth generation jewelry findings manufacturer, a distinction he took great pride in, it pleased him immensely to be able to pass on this legacy to his son. For a brief time in the late 1970s, he, with his sister Lynd, owned Murphy’s Lounge and Rocks Bar in Pawtucket.
Growing up, he spent a portion of every summer with his aunt and uncle, Gertrude (Murphy) and E. Searles Ball, on Block Island. It became the home of his heart early in life and it compelled him to introduce it to his beloved Mary Ellen during their dating years and each of his children the summer after their births. In 1983, they purchased their home, Corn Neck Farm. He retired to the Island in 1992; Mary Ellen joined him in 2001. After settling in to year-round Island life, he began a woodworking business with which he produced “The Block Island Sitting Machine.” He often took occasional side jobs such as driving the tour bus for Interstate Navigation because he loved talking about and showing people his favorite place on earth. Summer 2013 marked the first summer in his life that he missed on the island, a fact that made him quite sad.
In each community, he became active in civic organizations. He joined the Attleboro chapter of the Jaycees in his early 20s, later becoming Chapter President and then District Vice President of Massachusetts. He served the Jaycees with distinction and was awarded JCI senator for life; a rare honor. He was also a former member of The Attleboro Rotary Club and St. John’s Council, 404, Knights of Columbus. In Pawtucket, he was a former member of the Pawtucket Country Club, To Kalon Club, and Cub Master of Cub Scouts pack 15. Upon retirement to Block Island, he became a member of the Chamber of Commerce (past President) and served on the Tourism Council, The Double Enders Committee, the Taxi Commission and the Democratic Town Committee. He was an ardent fan of the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots. His passion late in life was reading biographies of the American Founding Fathers and the compilation of genealogical research of the Murphy and Sears families.
He lived, as oft quoted to his children, by the Golden Rule. He believed passionately in civic duty, the right of law, and personal responsibility. He abided by a personal code of great moral integrity; living his life intentionally, with a kind and generous spirit. Above all, he was a gentleman who lived and loved without prejudice. His greatest joy in life was his family; he loved them with all his might.
In keeping with his wishes, final arrangements are private. In lieu of flowers to the family, please send donations to: Block Island Volunteer Rescue Squad, PO Box 781, Block Island, R.I., 02807 or Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island, 1085 North Main Street, Providence, R.I. 02904.