Dr. Gerald P. Murphy, 65, a former director of Roswell Park Cancer Institute who contributed to its expansion from 1970 to 1985, died Friday (Jan. 21, 2000) in Tel Aviv, Israel, while attending a convention.
Murphy, who had had two heart bypass surgeries, suffered a heart attack while attending a meeting of the International Union Against Cancer, a group for which he served 26 years as secretary-general.
Murphy, a urologist whose work led to the widely used PSA test for prostate cancer, most recently served as president of the Pacific Northwest Cancer Foundation in Seattle.
However, in a career devoted to cancer, he was affiliated with many other research centers and organizations.
"His motto was: Surge ahead and respond to all challenges," said Dr. Edwin A. Mirand, senior adviser to the president and chief executive officer of Roswell Park.
"He had a great understanding of the cancer problem, not only for the institute, but globally, and managed to get many people involved in the cancer problem," said Mirand, a longtime Roswell Park staff member who wrote a history of the cancer center.
While at Roswell Park, Murphy worked in the urology cancer research laboratory at the University at Buffalo, which found that prostate cancer tumors produce prostate-specific antigens that can be measured.
This led to the development of the PSA test, which is used worldwide in combination with a rectal exam to detect early cases of the cancer.
Murphy was born in Havre, Mont., and graduated summa cum laude from Seattle University in 1955. He earned a medical degree from the University of Washington in 1959 and conducted research at Walter Reed Army Hospital before joining Roswell Park in 1968.
He served as chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society from 1988 to 1993 and then as president of the national organization from 1993 to 1997.
In 1993, he moved to Seattle, where he joined the medical staff of Northwest Hospital in addition to directing the cancer foundation.
Murphy received eight honorary university degrees, served as editor in chief of three cancer journals and wrote more than 1,000 scientific articles and books.
He served on the boards of trustees at Niagara and Cornell universities.
He also helped lobby Congress for passage of the 1971 National Cancer Act, which created cancer centers around the nation.
"He will be remembered as a great example and stimulus to men and women working in the cancer field," Mirand said.
Survivors include his wife of 40 years, Bridget of Seattle; four daughters, Anne Marie Banner and Maureen Anderson, both of Seattle, Margaret Olivares of Santa Monica, Calif., and Bridget Neill of Washington; two sons, George of Issaquah, Wash., and Gerald of Austin, Texas; a sister, Lois Spellman of Seattle; and six grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11:30 a.m. Friday in St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Seattle.