Cover photo for Francis Murphy's Obituary
Francis Murphy Profile Photo
1919 Francis 2020

Francis Murphy

August 18, 1919 — December 13, 2020

Francis Murphy artist, inventor, peacemaker, businessman and WWII veteran was born in Rockford, IL, in 1919 to Joseph and Viola (Anderson) Murphy. He passed away on December 13, 2020 in Peoria, AZ at the age of 101. “Red” graduated from Rockford Central HS, then received formal training at the Art Institute of Chicago. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps (Air Force) where he served in North Africa and southern Italy as a part of the 434th Squadron (nicknamed “the Earthquakers”). “Murph” as his fellow soldiers called him, later joined the 434th annual reunions which afforded him travel throughout our great country, with Marge at his side and his children in tow. He attended nearly every 434th event with his family for decades thereafter. On July 4, 1944 in St Louis, Missouri, Francis married the love of his life, Margaret Kennedy. After a brief time at Langley Air Field they established their home in Rockford where he co-founded Display Craft. For 25 years he built industrial exhibits and advertising displays for his successful company. After selling his company, he opened a Midwest market as Representative for World Imports which sold hand-crafted decor from small villages in Asia. His commitment to human rights led him to take on leadership roles in the Christian Family Movement. Together with his wife Marge they helped forge a generation of young Catholic couples actively involved in social justice and international understanding. Murph soon became the Executive Director of the Foundation for International Cooperation, with Marge as Executive Secretary, and his whole family involved in student exchanges. Through their strong belief in promoting international understanding on the micro level, they organized many world tours and hosted dozens of international students and visitors into their home. In 1990 Murph and Marge moved to Sun City, AZ where they immediately became active members of the community: at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Sun City Players, Democratic Club, Gourmet Club, and many more. Murph pursued his love of arts and crafts which manifested in colorful, decorative snakes to brighten any decor, and he encouraged his wife’s foray into her own artistic endeavors by painting her ceramic creations and delighting in her new-found artistic expressions. Their final years were spent in a small group home in Peoria AZ, where they continued to be members of St. Thomas More Church. Murph was preceded in death by Marge in 2019, the year of their 75th anniversary and by his brother Clayton (Ana Rosa) Murphy of Panama. His sister Barbara (Jack) Dooley passed away on January 31, 2021. Murph and Marge left behind 5 children: Patricia Gomez, Maureen Formisano, James (Akiko) Murphy, Teresa (Jasprit) Singh, Diane Cihangir, and 11 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren, six great-great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. He is greatly loved by many more family members and friends the world over. Funeral services at St. Thomas More on Friday, April 16 at 10:30 a.m. Interment Wednesday, April 21 at 10:30 a.m. at National Cemetery of Arizona. The family requests that if you are inclined, please, in lieu of flowers, send a donation in Francis and Marge Murphy's names to the St. Vincent DePaul Society. For more information, please contact their daughter patmugomez@gmail.com.
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