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William "Bill" Louis Murphy

Willow resident William (Bill) Louis Murphy, 77, died Feb. 20, 2001, at home.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, at the First Baptist Church in Willow, with Pastor Charles Worthy, the Rev. Dawson Lindblom and Dr. Glen Little officiating. An interment service and placement of Mr. Murphy's ashes will be at the Transport Cemetery in Dodson, La.

Mr. Murphy was born Feb. 28, 1923, in Wyatt, La. He served in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II from 1938 to 1945, and served in the Aleutian Campaign. He lived in Skagway from 1950 to 1951, in Anchorage from 1964 to 1971, and in Willow since 1971.

He was employed by the Alaska Department of Transportation from 1971 to 1987. He retired in 1987 as the DOT Willow shop foreman.

Mr. Murphy was a charter member of First Baptist Church of Willow.

His family wrote: "Known as ‘Murphy' to many, he was a man of many talents. He was a master mechanic and expert heavy equipment operator. He served his country during WWII, arriving by ship in Seward 60 years ago this month. He was later stationed in Amchitka and Anchorage, where one of

his duties included escorting Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner while the commander was in Alaska.

"He fell in love with Alaska, and after the war brought his wife and family north with him on the newly opened Alcan Highway. He went back home to Louisiana for a time, but the lure of Alaska brought him back for good in 1964. Murphy and his wife of 53 years, Ruby, homesteaded 160 acres near Willow.

"He was well-known in the Willow area for his generosity, church involvement and his dedication to making the roads clear and safe during his term as foreman of the Willow station of the highway department.

"After retiring, he enjoyed traveling with Ruby in their ‘mody home' to visit their many friends and family members scattered from coast to coast. Ruby estimates they traveled the Alcan more than 40 times. When they weren't on the road, Murphy enjoyed visiting with family and friends at their Kashwitna homestead. He was an avid reader of a variety of newspapers and loved watching old western movies. Murphy's big heart and big bear hugs will be missed by all."

Survivors are his wife, Ruby; son, Daniel and his fiancée, Carmen Thayne of Willow; daughter and son-in-law, Cathy and Pete McBride of Bronson, Texas; grandsons, Jerry McBride of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., Todd McBride of San Antonio, Texas, Stephen McBride of Lufkin, Texas, Sean Murphy of Wasilla, and Tad Murphy of Dallas, Texas; three great-granddaughters, and three great-grandsons; sister, Lilian Buswell of Couchatta, La.; brother, Rudolph M. Murphy of Leesville, La.; and father, J. J. Murphy of Leesville, La.

Memorial donations may be made to the Building Fund, First Baptist Church of Willow, P.O. Box 145, Willow, AK 99688.

Arrangements were made by Valley Funeral Home & Crematory of Wasilla.

Source: Frontiersman, 27 February 2001



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