Methuen, MA — Michael J. Murphy, 95, who spent his life helping people in his family and in the community, died on July 20, at Lawrence General Hospital, following a brief illness.
Born in Haverhill, Mass., to James and Julia Keating Murphy, he grew up in Haverhill and graduated from St. James High School. During World War II, he served in the Army Air Corps as a Staff Sergeant in the 570th Bomber Squadron. In England, he spent more than two years overseeing the preparation of planes for their bombing runs to Germany.
Following the war, he worked for the State of Massachusetts, serving as a correctional officer at the Bridgewater Correctional Institution until his retirement.
For some 30 years, he spent an active retirement, reaching out to those in need until the day he died. He volunteered with the Samaritans, with the Bread of Roses Soup Kitchen, at the Lawrence General Hospital, and at St. Lucy's Catholic Church.
He loved to read and to share ideas about literature, politics, religion and the world.
His favorite role in life was being "Uncle Mike." His 20 nieces and nephews cherish the memory of his weekly visits, with Hershey bars in the winter and Hoodsies in the summer, trips to the beach, and long talks about school and family life. And every Christmas, he became Santa Claus, sharing presents and the wonder of Christmas with the nieces and nephews, then the great-nieces and great-nephews, and more recently, the great-great-nieces and great-great-nephews.
He was predeceased in death by his brother, David, and his sisters, Julia LaBelle (Raymond), Nora Murphy Linnehan (William) and Mary Murphy McGilvray (Reaney).
He is survived by his sister, Ellen Murphy Gallant and her husband, John; by his nieces and nephews, their children and their grandchildren; and by hundreds of friends who will never forget him.