E. “Mike” Murphy died Friday, January 31, 2020. He was born on May 28, 1920 and raised in Grand Rapids. He is survived by his daughters, Pat Cramer (Fred), Jerri Murphy (formerly Ranson), Elaine Braun (Lane) and grandchildren, Michael Cramer (Sophie), Kyle Ranson (Kristen), plus great grandchildren, Sydney, Isabelle, Avery and Abram.
A “Celebration of Life Luncheon” will be held Thursday, February 13, 2020 at the American Legion Boat and Canoe Club, 401 North Park St., Grand Rapids, Michigan from 2-4 pm to honor Mike Murphy.
Mike attended Burton elementary and South High School, graduating from South in 1938. His dreams of coaching and going to Western Michigan started in the 4th grade. He believed that his coach at Burton, Mr. Waters, and his coach at South High, Danny Rose, were father figures to him since his dad had passed away when he was two years old.
During the depression, going to college was out of the question. Mike worked for the W.P.A. in the Recreation field. He was finally able to begin college at Western. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, Mike enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942. He spent almost 4 years in the service. He married June, the love of his life, and later had their first daughter. Once again, he returned to Western and lived in the Veterans Trailer Park near campus.
Marine City, Michigan was his first teaching job in 1948 where he taught biology, American history and speech plus coached varsity football and baseball. He then went to South High in 1949 and taught biology and physiology and coached 2nd team football and basketball. The teams won city titles in each! Mike went on to coach the varsity basketball and football teams winning 5 city league championships. The basketball teams won 7 city titles plus a record 44 straight city games and made it to the State Final Four twice.
Coaching basketball and teaching biology and physiology were Mike’s passion. After retiring from South, teaching and coaching still called to his heart so he accepted a teaching and coaching position at Muskegon High in 1967. He continued for the Big Reds in Muskegon for eleven years. The teams went on to win seven Lake Michigan Conference titles.
He was inducted into the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan (BCAM) in 1994, In 2012, he was honored to receive the “Warren Reynolds Lifetime Achievement Award."
After retiring from Muskegon, Mike and June moved back to Grand Rapids in 1986. His dear wife, June, passed away after 64 wonderful years together. He lost a granddaughter, Karen (Cramer) King in 1998.
Mike enjoyed life up until his death, keeping his home in Grand Rapids and taking walks with his dog, Stella. He continued to play golf once a week with former athletes, students and many friends. They became known as the South High Senior Golf League. The league has grown through the years and Mike will be missed!
With fond memories and gratitude, you were loved by many and will be deeply missed.
In lieu of flowers, donations to GRCC Foundation The Edward “Mike” Murphy Scholarship fund Grand Rapids Community College, 143 Bostwick Ave, NE Grand Rapids, MI 49503-9912 or the American Cancer Society would be appreciated.
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American Cancer Society
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