Michael “Mike / Murph” Murphy, 73, passed away unexpectedly on June 1, 2021.
Mike was born in Greenfield on April 12, 1948, the son of Robert and Marion (Palin) Murphy. He graduated from Greenfield High School as a member of the class of 1966. Murph was captain of the Greenfield High School Football team, and despite receiving a full scholarship to play football at Memphis State University, Mike followed his passion and joined the Carpenter’s Union in Springfield, MA. He began his career in the construction business with his mentor Henry “Chappy” Chapman, and began working for several contractors in the New England area.
After a few years in construction, Mike started teaching the “Women in Construction” program, which was a new program introducing women into the construction trade. He then became the Carpentry Apprenticeship coordinator and teacher at Springfield Technical Community College where he was very proud to use his natural mentoring and teaching abilities to help young men and women launch careers in construction.
In the late 80’s Mike started his own company, Murphy Construction. Over the years, Murphy Construction was responsible for the construction and renovation of many new buildings, homes, and commercial projects in the Greenfield area. Mike valued quality construction and happy customers as an indicator of success for his business.
Later in his construction career, Mike became project manager and oversaw construction projects at Home Depot, Applebee’s, and AutoZone in Greenfield. Prior to retiring, Mike became resident engineer for the Division of Capital Asset Management for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and was proud to work on large projects at the Westfield State University Library, the Life Sciences Building at UMASS-Amherst, the Franklin County Courthouse, and the Franklin County House of Corrections.
Even with all of his construction accolades, Mike was most proud of his work supporting the Greenfield Girls Softball League (GGSL) and the development of Murphy Park. Mike was President of the Greenfield Girls Softball League for many years; and along with his wife, Donna, coached several teams that competed and won many tournaments at the State and Regional level. Their efforts, along with many other coaches and volunteers, put Greenfield on the Softball map, and most importantly, they became mentors to countless young women throughout the years. As the league grew and needed a home, he developed his vision to create a park that would be home for the league so that teams could compete at one location for league games, as well as to host many regional softball tournaments. Over the years with Mike’s guidance and his ability to make friends with whomever he met, he raised over $500,000 in donations of money, time and talent to make Murphy Park a reality. Electricians, Plumbers, Carpenters and the general business community of Greenfield stepped forward to help the Park thrive. He loved going to the park to watch games and talk to the parents and volunteers. The tournaments held every year brought a smile to his face. This summer will be the 30th anniversary of Murphy Park.
In addition to watching softball games, he loved watching all of the professional New England sports teams, UMass athletics and Greenfield High School sports. He adored watching his future Hall of Fame grandson play in his basketball and soccer games, too.
Mike was proud of his community and was always looking to give back to the community that he loved. He also was elected to serve on the Greenfield Housing Authority for many years and was unofficially known as the Mayor of Greenfield.
Mike also made time for his family and friends. When he wasn’t watching sports or volunteering his time for the community, he could be found at home working on his model trains, making the world’s best omelets, banana bread, and starting new projects around the house, usually sketched out on a napkin.
Mike will be deeply missed by his family; wife Donna (Ferst), whom he married almost 52 years ago on Sept. 6, 1969, daughter Jennifer Murphy of Greenfield, daughter Karen Murphy-Davis and Son in Law Mark Davis of Greenfield, his son Christopher Murphy of Malden, MA, grandson Ethan Kinney of Hancock, NH, brother Robert Murphy of Vernon, VT, brother Thomas Murphy of Easthampton and several nieces, nephews and friends.
Mike was predeceased by a brother Francis and sister Katherine.
Calling hours will be Sunday, June 6 from 4pm to 6pm at the Smith-Kelleher Funeral Home, 87 Franklin St., Greenfield, MA.
A memorial service will be held Monday, June 7 at 11:00 am at the funeral home. Following the service, a celebration of his life will be held from 12:30 - 5pm at the Northfield Golf Club, 31 Holton St, Northfield, MA.
Burial will be at the convenience of the family.
In lieu of flowers, it is requested memorial contributions in Mike’s name be made to the Greenfield Girls Softball League or the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Regional Dog Shelter.
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