JAMES O. “JIM” MURPHY
A memorial service for James O. “Jim” Murphy, Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Retired) will be held Saturday, November 16 at 10 AM at Christ Episcopal Church in Temple, TX. Jim passed away after a short illness on October 21, 2019. A private graveside burial with full military honors was held on October 26, 2019, with the Reverend John T. Wells, Colonel, US Army (Retired) officiating.
Jim was born in Chicago, IL, on January 6, 1944, to James O. Murphy, Sr. and Jean Sauer Murphy. He graduated from Dundee High School in Dundee, IL, in 1962. Jim earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from American Technological University in 1978 and a Master’s degree in Systems Management from the University of Southern California in 1984. He married Sharon Phillips at Christ Episcopal Church in Temple, TX, on June 11, 1978.
Jim enlisted for the Army’s Warrant Officer flight training program at Fort Wolters, TX, at the height of the Vietnam War in 1965. He subsequently served two tours in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot, amassing over 2,600 flight hours in combat. In 1968, he entered Officer Candidate School and on December 10, 1969, he was commissioned a Regular Army Officer in the Army Signal Corps. Jim elected to make aviation his primary specialty when the Aviation Branch was formed in 1982. Rated in both rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft, Jim was Commander of several flight detachments, a flight instructor, instrument flight examiner, and qualified to fly every aircraft in the Army’s inventory. In the 1970’s, Jim was a test pilot for night vision goggles now used by Army aviators for night combat operations.
Jim was a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College. He was selected for promotion to full colonel, battalion command, and US Army War College attendance. Instead, Jim chose to retire from active duty as a lieutenant colonel so his wife, Sharon, could advance her Government Civil Service career with the Department of Defense.
Jim’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit; Distinguished Flying Cross; Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster; Meritorious Service Medal; 53 Air Medals for Valor in Aerial Flight; Army Commendation Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters; Army Achievement Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal with 4 campaign stars; Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal; Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/Palm Unit Award; 4 Overseas Service Bars; and, Master Aviator Wings.
After retiring from the Army, Jim began a career in law enforcement. He first served in Alexandria, VA, as a Deputy Sheriff and later as a police officer in the Fairfax County (VA) Police Department. Once again in support of Sharon’s career with the Defense Department, Jim retired from law enforcement in 2001 when they moved to the San Antonio, TX, area. Jim was an avid gardener, wood worker, model railroader and lover and rescuer of animals.
Survivors include his loving wife of 41 years, Sharon Phillips Murphy of Temple; son Sean Murphy, his wife Lisa, and grandsons Alec and Colin Murphy, all of St. Charles, IL; sisters Donna Richter and her husband Mark of South Bend, IL, Claudia Taylor and her husband Tom of Nashville, TN, Kim Atkins and her husband Mark of O’Fallon, IL, and Jenny Espinosa and her husband Carlos of Coral Gables, FL. Nephews and nieces include Ray Keilers and his wife Addie of Oenaville, TX, Steven Richter, Amanda Larson, Rudi Atkins and his wife, Jessica, and Samantha Atkins, as well as many great nephews and neices, including Trey and Sawyer Keilers. Sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law include Douglas and Susan Phillips Keilers of Temple and John Phillips and Amy Dunbar of Coventry, CT.
Memorials in Jim’s honor may be made to the Temple Ronald McDonald House, Texas Great Pyrenees Rescue, Gold Ribbon Rescue and the Wounded Warrior Project.
Scanio-Harper Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Online guestbook is available at www.scanioharperfuneralhome.com.