Born March 16, 1927, in Northampton, he was the son of the late John Francis Murphy and Margaret Mary (Hayes) Murphy. He graduated from Northampton High School in 1945 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy the same year. He was honorably discharged as a Seaman First Class and received the World War II Victory, American Area and Asiatic Pacific Area medals. He attended Williston Academy and St. Michael’s College from 1947 to 1949. He graduated from Boston College Law School in 1952.
After being admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1952, he was employed for six years as a legal contract administrator with United Aircraft Corporation. In 1959, he and his partner John Foley, formed the law firm of Foley and Murphy. In January of 1971, he was appointed the First Assistant District Attorney for the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office of Massachusetts. He remained in this position while maintaining his private practice until his appointment in 1977 by Governor King as an Associate Justice of the Superior Court of Massachusetts.
He was a trustee of Forbes Library for 20 years. He served on the Northampton Board of Appeals for six years and served as a Northampton City Solicitor from 1962 to 1964. He was town counsel for the Town of Amherst from 1974 to 1979. He served on the Superior Court for 18 years until his mandatory retirement in 1997.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Helen (Kolodzinski) Murphy; his daughter Atty. Elizabeth Waterfield and her husband Carlos Waterfield; his grandchildren Justin and Sarah Waterfield; and several nieces and nephews.
John was predeceased by his sisters Mary Rose Paul and Margaret Goldberg and his brother Thomas Murphy.