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William J. Murphy, funeral director, volunteer Dec. 24, 1929 -- Jan. 29, 2012

William J. Murphy, a longtime North Buffalo funeral director, marathon runner and civic volunteer, died Jan. 29 of pneumonia in Buffalo General Medical Center. He was 82.

A lifelong resident of North Buffalo, he attended Mount St. Joseph School, Bennett High School and the University of Buffalo.

After graduating from the Simmons School of Mortuary Science in Syracuse, he went to work with his father, Earl J., who had founded the Murphy Funeral Home on Hertel Avenue in the late 1920s. He became owner after his father died in 1976 and operated it until 2004, when he sold it and retired.

A regular runner in Delaware Park, he completed four marathons, including the Skylon Marathon and the Cleveland Marathon. He created and designed the yearly T-shirt for the annual Turkey Trot.

Mr. Murphy was active with the Delaware Family YMCA for more than 35 years and was co-chairman of the Turkey Trot. He also was past chairman of the branch's board of management and was twice honored as the branch volunteer of the year. In 1999, he was given the Golden Key Award, the highest volunteer honor, at the annual YMCA Buffalo Niagara dinner.

He also was involved with many other North Buffalo civic organizations. He was a member of the North Buffalo Lions Club, served for 10 years on the board of the North Buffalo Kiwanis Club and served on the board of the North Buffalo Business Association for five years.

He was a dedicated volunteer with the Buffalo Philharmonic Athletic Club and received the volunteer of the year award from the Skating Association for the Blind and Handicapped (SABAH). He served as chairman of program sales for SABAH's annual show. He also helped at the annual dance and socials sponsored by the American Association for the Blind.

He was head usher at St. Margaret's Catholic Church and helped acquire infirmary furniture for the Carmelite Convent on Carmel Road. He also was active with members of his college fraternity, Alpha Sigma Phi.

His lifelong interest in art began when he attended the former Albright Art School. He collected Asian and American artwork, from porcelains to oil paintings. His fashion flair was expressed in a collection of signature bow ties.

Surviving are a brother, Eugene T.; a sister, Maureen Taylor; and a close friend, Gary R. Sutton. A twin brother, Robert H., died in 2009.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. April 14 in St. Margaret's Catholic Church, 1395 Hertel Ave.

[anderson]