Lester Gray Murphy Sr., 88, of Marshallberg, passed away peacefully Tuesday, July 28, 2020, at his home surrounded by his loving family.
His graveside service is at 11 a.m. Friday at Victoria Cemetery in Marshallberg, officiated by Dr. Randy Moore of Marshallberg Baptist Church. Family and friends are welcome to attend the service. For those unable to attend, the family invites you to view the webcast of the service through his obituary page on Munden Funeral Home’s website, which will be available later in the day Friday. In keeping with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines pertaining to the novel coronavirus, those who are ill or at-risk (elderly, immune-compromised) are encouraged to stay home. Help us honor the family while practicing safe social distancing measures. Friends are also encouraged to leave words of comfort to the family through the website.
Lester was the eighth child born to Willie Gray and Callie D. Nelson Murphy Sept. 26, 1931, at their home in Marshallberg. He graduated from Smyrna High School in 1949. Lester entered the U.S. Coast Guard in 1950, was honorably discharged and afterwards enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve in 1956. He married the love of his life, Alma Jean Arthur, on Easter Sunday, April 18, 1954. The couple celebrated 66 years of marriage this year, raising their three children and taking care of their parents in the same home where he was born.
Lester was employed by Aviation Fuel Terminal Inc. on Radio Island in 1954. He became the general manager of the plant, the largest government storage facility of aviation fuel on the eastern seaboard. He wrote federal grants and worked closely with B&M Railroad and various trucking/transport companies supplying jet aviation fuel for military bases in a multi-state area. When AFT was sold in the early 90s, Mr. Murphy helped start Radio Island Terminal Operators LLC, which continues to provide manpower for PCS Phosphate and N.C. Port Authorities. Lester retired in 2008 at the age of 76, having provided “dedicated service, inspiring leadership and effective management to The Department of Defense, Texas Gulf and Potash Corporation for over 6 decades.”
Mr. Murphy is survived by his devoted wife, Jean A. Murphy of the home; his daughter, Cynthia Murphy Downum and husband Bill Downum of Beaufort; and sons, Lester G. Murphy Jr. and wife Carol Daniels Murphy of Cedar Island and Patrick W. Murphy and wife Billee Hancock Murphy of Marshallberg. He is also survived by five precious granddaughters, Kendra Murphy Baughman and husband Josh Baughman of Summerville, S.C., Delisa Murphy Styron and husband Neil Styron of Davis, Kelli Murphy Pollard and husband Mike Pollard of Beaufort, Leslie Downum Liebert and husband Patrick Liebert of Raleigh and Becky Murphy Willis and husband Brandon Willis of Davis. “Gran-Gran’s” nine great-grandchildren include Noah and Seth Baughman, Murphy and Neilly Styron, Brayden and Dylan Pollard, Brantley and Sutton Liebert and Beckett Willis. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews.
Lester was preceded in death by his parents, Will and Callie Dee Murphy; brothers, Alvin Lester, Clifford and Manley Murphy; sisters, Mariam M. Mason, Geraldine M. Fulcher, Evelyn M. Chadwick and Vida M. Lewis; nephews, Darren and Gary Lewis; and niece, Amy Lewis Barnes.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made in Lester Murphy’s name to Marshallberg Baptist Church, P.O. Box 189, Marshallberg, NC 28553, designated for the “Benevolent Fund.”
Arrangements are by Munden Funeral Home and Crematory of Morehead City. Condolences and life tributes may be submitted to www.munderfuneralhome.net.