Jim Furlong: Farewell Dee Murphy

Taken from the Sept.23-29 issue

I went to Dee Murphy’s wake on Saturday afternoon. I went early for a very specific reason. I knew there was going to be a crowd. Carnell’s Funeral Home was blocked on the weekend of Dee’s passing. 

It is the same reason I went early to the funeral mass at St. Teresa’s Church the following Monday. I wanted to get a good seat. The attendance at mass was a ‘who’s who’ not of just sports; or politics; or news; or of business. 

‘Cast a Long Shadow’

It instead was of ‘a generation.’ Dee was one of those people that left a mark across the years. He ‘cast a long shadow’ as the expression goes. Sitting in celebration of a life well lived at the funeral mass were lots of names you would know and lots of names you would not. 

My personal connection to Dee and the Murphy family runs deep. 

We were from the west end; from Pleasant Street. We both went to St. Bon’s. Dee’s parents Dick and Mary and my mom were in the same bridge club. Our families were both of St. Patrick’s parish. Dee’s sisters Ann Marie and Joanie were part of our family story. In latter years I came to know his wife Bette and most of the rest of Dee’s family. 

The other connection is that Dee worked in news and I actually worked for him for exactly one day when he was the editor at the old St. John’s Daily News. We talked news all the time. 

So who came to St. Teresa’s to say goodbye? The answer is; many. Some great athletes attended. Ford Metcalf, Stan Cook and Hubert Hutton were there. Bob Cole was there. John Barrington was there as well as Glen Stanford and Bill Davis, Joe Maynard, Bill Barron and Gary Corbett. They were all at St. Teresa’s. So was Colleen Tapper and members of a ladies softball team coached by Dee a quarter of a century ago. 

A Single Rose

Each player brought with them a single rose. It was a touching sight. Political parties from several generations were represented. Ed Roberts was there and Bill Callahan and Dave Brazil. Danny Williams, a personal friend of Dee, gave the eulogy. Jack Harris was there. I saw people from the world of business like Doug Moores and Scott and Judy Stirling. From the world of news were Robin Short, Mark Dwyer, Fred Hutton, Gerry Phalen and more. 

People sometimes forget that Dee Murphy was a great newspaper man. When he saw something of interest, he often called me. 

A final thought. Last night in a conversation with someone my own age, the talk was of a hockey team from the ’50s in Newfoundland called The Unicorns. We were trying to remember if that team had an ‘affiliation’ and what players had played with them. In ordinary circumstances I would have called Dee and he would have known the answer. I quietly understand that I can’t do that anymore. It makes me sad. 

NTV’s Jim Furlong can be reached by emailing: [email protected]

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