The Southern Cross : September 2012
September 2012 Page 21 www.thesoutherncross.org.au The Southern Cross Obituaries – Parishes and readers wanting to publish a tribute to or eulogy of a deceased (with consent of family members) in The Southern Cross can email details to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us on 8210 8117. obituary | Michael Francis Murphy was born on August 8, 1945 to Danny and Sarah Murphy (nee Nelligan), a half brother to Sean whose mother Aileen died eight days after childbirth. Of good Irish stock with his red hair and love of life, his Catholic faith was the pivot of Michael’s life. The childhood days of the Murphy brothers were run of the mill until Sean turned five and started school at St Josephs Convent, Thebarton, situated opposite the Murphy home on busy South Road. Two-year-old Michael would follow Sean to school so his mum started tying him to the verandah post. The headmistress, aware of the family predicament, ruled that Michael could attend school with his brother. When Michael was five his mother died from cancer. Following this upheaval Sean and Michael ended up at St Ignatius College in Norwood until it was decided by Danny that the boys would go to Rostrevor College in 1957. After a short time as day boys and at the request of Matron Duggan, the boys became boarders. After matriculating Michael went on to Adelaide Teachers College to study PE for a brief time whilst boarding at Aquinas College. Michael played football for Christian Brothers Old Collegian Football Club in A3 Amateur League. His strength and skill saw him move on to League football with West Torrens in 1969 where he played nine games and made quite an impression on the players and the club generally. His career was cut short after receiving an injury during a State Squad game of Gaelic Football against County Meath. League footy’s loss was Rostrevor Old Collegians’ gain as Michael went on to co-found the ROC Football Club of which he was captain and coach in the inaugural year of 1974. In the sixties Michael left Teachers College and through his acquaintance with the three Burden sisters, he began working for their father Robert, who was CEO of the SA Tractor Company at that time. Michael was virtually adopted as the son that Robert and Marie Burden never had. The Burdens introduced him to water skiing and although a novice skier, he used his stubbornness and determination to eventually ski on one. These attributes took him far in many other aspects of his life. Michael moved on to other things after leaving the SA Tractor Company in the 70’s. He started his own business selling men’s Swedish clogs and ladies clothing and later designed and sold grape stakes for building vineyards. In 1977, Michael asked Charlotte Anderson to marry him. They had been an item for some time so they were married just three weeks later. Within a short space of time Charlotte was pregnant and then proceeded to have six children in six years. Michael was so proud of his “Murphy 6” as he used to refer to them when they were little. Till the day he died, they were his greatest achievement. His devotion to his “darling” Charlotte was unwavering, as was her’s to him. The Murphy clan was distinctive driving around in a Yellow VW bus and based at 27 Tusmore Avenue until recently when they moved to Glen Osmond. When the children were young they were a fixture in St Ignatius Church, Norwood, every Sunday morning. While some families may have been sitting down the back, possibly in the crying room, Michael, Charlotte, Amelia, Bridget, Patrick, Esther, Grace and Ellen were sitting up the front and were exceptionally well behaved. Michael was the leader of their great family and his influence had much to do with the great bond they so clearly share. In 1978 Michael began marketing Meckloc Fencing – an invention of his late father- in-law Colin Anderson. After experiencing some financially tight times in the early 80s when the growing young family needed to be sustained, he found work with L & G as an accredited life assurance salesman. These were challenging times. In 1986 Murph, forever confident, decided to go it alone and commence business as “Murphy Financial Services” at his current address in Wakefield Street, Adelaide. This highly successful venture has resulted in the business just celebrating its 25th anniversary. Michael was never backward in contributing to the common good. In 2000 he threw his hat into the ring to help the Association of Financial Advisers which was close to bankruptcy. After representing SA on the AFA Executive he became Chairman of Public Affairs Committee of AFA. He took the fight to Canberra and made many appearances before the select committee of Financial Services. He progressed from SA President to National VP and then National President. During this period the AFA’s financial position managed to turn around from $1.4m in debt to $2m in funds. Its survival is due to many but none more than Michael. He has won every major award that the AFA has to offer, so much so that their highest award is now named the “Michael Murphy Award”. In 2008 Michael sold his interest in the business with a view to quieter times ahead but he remained devoted to his clients, even attending a meeting with one of them just two days before he entered Mary Potter Hospice. Michael’s favourite places were the river house at Walker Flat and the family’s new home at Glen Osmond which he returned to for his final days. Michael was a prolific reader who consumed books, mainly about politics, religion and public affairs. Never a good sleeper, he would spend half the night reading. He hated modern technology and refused to have even a mobile phone. Michael was a regular attendee at ROCFC matches and was a Past President donor and sponsor of the Club over the years. He attended a match only a couple of weeks before he died, escorted by his daughters even though he was desperately unwell and in constant pain. He was a strong contributor to the College as President of the Old Collegians and was active in arranging scholarships for boys from underpriviledged backgrounds to attend the school. He was Chairman of the Rostrevor College Foundation and inaugural chairman of the Community Coordination Group. Michael was a regular supporter of things philanthropic including Bone Growth Foundation, Loreto College, St Ignatius Parish, St Josephs Memorial School, Mary Potter Hospice, MS Research Foundation and St Vincent de Paul. He had a deep faith that guided his ethics and professional conduct. When ill, he remained positive and never complained. He hated sympathy and appeared to be in denial of his condition almost until the end. He was a brave man. Michael was a controversial character because he held very strong opinions about almost everything. He was not afraid to voice these opinions even though they may not be supported by popular belief. Michael was so many things to so many people who will remember him as a devoted husband, father and father-in- law, doting grandfather, loyal friend, a gregarious personality, an overseas and outback traveller, a trusted advisor, the persuasive salesman, a competent skier, a strong swimmer, a robust footballer, a very good driver of expensive cars, a practising Catholic, a snappy dresser and a great mate. Taken from the eulogy by Roger Orchard. Larger than life Michael Francis Murphy Born August 8, 1945 Died June 11, 2012 MURPHY CLAN: Back from left – Ben Crowley, Grace Murphy, Tom White, Ellen Murphy, Patrick Murphy, Charlotte Murphy and Amelia Murphy. Front from left – Esther Murphy, Joel Sanders, Lucy White, Bridget White and Michael Murphy.