Until Dr. Thomas J. Murphy retired as Buffalo police surgeon in 1994, no one in the department was immune from his needle or his good-natured needling.
For 33 years, it was Dr. Murphy's job to treat all injured city police officers, but he was equally known for keeping the force in stitches as the department's unofficial roaster, serving as emcee at many retirement dinners and testimonials.
Dr. Murphy died Thursday in his Buffalo home. He was 80.
Born in Buffalo, Dr. Murphy was a graduate of Canisius College and the University of Buffalo Medical School. He operated a private practice and was also the alternate surgeon for the Buffalo Fire Department, as well as the physician for Buffalo public and parochial schools.
In 1961, he was appointed temporary police surgeon, then went on to serve under 10 commissioners.
Dr. Murphy's notoriety as police surgeon, toastmaster and quipster was featured in a Buffalo News article on his retirement in 1994. In the article, Inspector James A. Mahoney recalled Dr. Murphy's remarks at a retirement dinner that year:
" Some of his remarks were stinging," said Mahoney, who died in 2000. "He always had a remark about the person they were honoring, and he always threw in a few zingers about the department's brass.
Dr. Murphy was a member of the Erie County Medical Society, Fire Bell Club of Buffalo, Buffalo Police Benevolent Association and the Buffalo Fire Historical Society. He also was on the staff at Sisters Hospital.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Holy Angels Catholic Church, 348 Porter Ave.