Michael E. Murphy Sr., 84, Purple Heart recipient

August 23, 2002

Michael Eugene Murphy Sr., a Purple Heart recipient who was wounded twice in World War II, died Sunday of congestive heart failure at St. Agnes HealthCare in Baltimore. The longtime resident of Arbutus was 84.

Born in West Baltimore, Mr. Murphy graduated from St. Martin's High School at age 16 and opened a barbershop on Fayette Street. He moved to Arbutus in the late 1930s and enlisted in the Army in 1941, before Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.

A sergeant, he fought in Europe and participated in the invasion of Normandy on D-Day. He'd tell stories later about the sun rising that morning and illuminating landing boats "as far as you could see."

He was injured later, first by a bullet that grazed his head. He was sent home in 1944 after his ankle was wounded and became infected. Mr. Murphy spent the rest of the decade in and out of hospitals.

"He carried that the rest of his life," said his daughter, Karen Murphy Kesslar of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

In addition to the Purple Heart, he received the Bronze Star and Combat Infantrymen's Badge, she said.

In 1950, he joined W.T. Cowan Trucking Co. in Baltimore as a dispatcher and worked his way up to general sales manager before retiring in 1980.

A longtime member of the Church of the Ascension in Halethorpe, he earned the Archdiocesan Medal of Honor for outstanding community service to the parish. He was also a member of the Arbutus Community Association, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Madonna Council of the Knights of Columbus and the Arbutus Golf Club, where he served as president for 30 years.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered Wednesday.

In addition to Mrs. Kesslar, Mr. Murphy is survived by his wife, the former Mary Mullaney, whom he married in 1949; a son, Dr. Michael E. Murphy Jr. of Albuquerque, N.M.; a sister, Catherine Wilderson of Ferndale; and three grandchildren. Mr. Murphy was predeceased by a daughter, Patricia Murphy.

Donations may be made to the Church of the Ascension, 4603 Poplar Ave., Baltimore 21227.

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