Kenneth Paul Murphy
Ken would be the first to tell you that he lived a wonderful life. In 1972, Ken married his best
friend Mary Hopkins. They were a perfect team who built a beautiful family together and celebrated 50 wonderful years of marriage this past November. Ken was his family’s North Star… a steadfast point that never wavered, always reliable, with a hopeful positivity that made it easier to navigate life’s roughest waters. His words were always genuine and from the heart. No matter how dark a moment might seem, he found the light and the hope in it, inspiring others to do the same.
A quiet, humble guy, with a twinkle in his eye, Ken was the ultimate gentleman. He was always available and never too busy to listen, lend a hand, sit with you to catch up and enjoy a hot coffee, cold beer or iced tea, and offer positive words of encouragement. He was wise beyond his schooling - master historian, architectural guru, firefighter and mechanic - always reading and learning.
Ken was a proud American who was drafted into the US Army and served in active combat zones during the Vietnam War for which he was awarded a Purple Heart. He had a deep love for his country and proudly displayed his American flags for every patriotic holiday. He was active with his local VA, attended weekly meetings with fellow combat veterans, many who became dear friends.
Following his years of service, Ken made the choice to follow in his father’s footsteps as a Philadelphia firefighter. He graduated from the Fire Academy in 1973 and embarked on a long and rewarding career with the Philadelphia Fire Department eventually retiring in 2010. He loved his job as a Philadelphia firefighter and purposely chose to work at some of the city’s busiest stations. Ken’s many friends on the PFD truly became his extended family.
On his days off from firefighting, Ken drove commercial bus tours and also worked as an HVAC contractor. His motivation was to provide his children with the best education he could. He was very proud that his hard work led to both of his children attending college and earning their Bachelor’s degrees. For how hard he worked, he never seemed to miss family events, sometimes showing up immediately after a shift, often still in his uniform, to join the fun in progress.
Ken always took care of those he cared about. It didn’t matter if he had worked all day on the fire grounds, when a friend or family member called because their car was acting up or their furnace, air conditioner or refrigerator/ freezer had died, he was there to lend a hand. His knack for fixing things and finding solutions to problems earned him the nickname Murphguyver from his fellow firefighters.
Ken and Mary loved to vacation and especially enjoyed taking cruises with friends and family. He loved sitting on the fantail of the ship and watching the wake or a beautiful sunset. Their dear friends, Peggy and Fuji Narasaki, were two of his favorite travel companions. Truly family, when Ken and Mary sold their home in Philadelphia, the Narasakis made sure the Murphys knew that their home was their new homebase in Philadelphia.
Above all, Ken believed in the importance of family. He was the proud father of Jeanne (John) Curtis, and Kenneth Jr. (Sara). His grandchildren - Padraic, Henry, Evan and Molly - were his pride and joy. He loved spending time with them and he worked hard to instill in them the importance of taking pride in what you do, having integrity, being kind, and respecting both themselves and others. In addition to his wife, children and grandchildren, Ken is lovingly survived by his brothers, Dennis (Linda) and Donald (Carol); his sisters-in-law Patricia Murphy, Denise Murphy, Maureen Hopkins, Betsy Hopkins, brothers-in-law James Hopkins and John Netterville, his Aunt Elsie Smart, Staab family and many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family as well as dear friends. Ken was predeceased by his dear parents as well as his beloved siblings - Jack, Grace, Edward and Stephen.
Relatives, friends and members of Local 22 are invited to attend Ken’s Celebration of Life on Wednesday evening, July 5th, 2023 from 8-9pm with visitation from 6-8pm at John F. Fluehr and Sons Funeral Home, 3301 Cottman Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19149. His Memorial and Internment with full Military Honors begins promptly at 1pm on Thursday, July 6th, 2023 at Washington Crossing National Cemetery, 830 Highland Rd., Newtown, PA 18940. All are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Ken’s memory may be made to: Firefighter's Widow Fund, C/O Local 22, 415 N. 5th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123 and/or Philadelphia Second Alarmers Association, 2900 Robert's Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19129.To send a flower arrangement or to plant trees in memory of Kenneth Paul Murphy, please click here to visit our Sympathy Store.