Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service

Jim Murphy

December 14, 1943 ~ March 15, 2019

It will come as no surprise to my family, friends, and former students that I have chosen to write my own obituary. I have never been very good at choosing to do what is expected or to follow the ‘norm’ as I am probably the most unorthodox individual many of you know. On Dec. 14, 1943, Marie and Wild Bill Murphy brought me into this world in beautiful Bozeman. My sister Bitsy was born two years earlier and my brothers Don and Tim came after me. Bitsy was the sister everyone wanted to have and we were inseparable from the time I was born. My brothers Don and Tim are smart, amazing athletes, and the kindest people I know. Nobody has ever had better siblings than I did. I also had blessed family and friends who are de facto siblings from tough family situations when they came to live with us. My maternal grandma, Lizzy Brooks, was my best friend and I was also close to Aunt Bert Vidack. Of the de facto siblings, Judy Vidack and Joe Brooks stood out. My amazing family blessing continued with my mom and dad raising us ‘Mayberry style on steroids,’ only better. Growing up, Bozeman the population was only one quarter of its present size. Everyone knew everyone else, doors were left unlocked, and neighbors even knew the names of the neighbor's dogs. Fishing, hiking, camping, and many more outdoor activities were so close it was inevitable to become a nature lover and worshiper. We also had a great college, now Montana State University Bozeman, which gave us access to a lot of concerts. I graduated from Bozeman Holy Rosary High School in 1962. After high school I went to Carroll College for one semester, but it was too expensive so I moved back to Bozeman and attended Montana State University. I had a great time and a fantastic education. I graduated in 1966 and was given a full ride scholarship for my Masters to the University of Hawaii Honolulu thanks to an appointment by Senator Mike Mansfield. I was unhappy there and returned to Bozeman where I earned a Master's degree in horticulture at MSU in 1971 after I had already started teaching at Lewis and Clark Junior High School in Billings.

Jim was unable to finish his own obituary. On Friday, March 15, 2019, Jim passed away on his own terms at home with his family by his side. His big, generous heart finally gave out.

In 1969 Jim Murphy began his teaching career at Lewis and Clark junior High School. It wasn't long before Jim established himself as one of Billings' finest science teachers. He was a master at teaching each student no matter what his or her ability level was. The depth of his teaching provided students with a tremendous background in science. Many students returned to tell Mr. Murphy that biological science was easy in both high school and even college because of his class. Mr. Murphy not only provided a strong background in science, he was also a most compassionate teacher who respected and valued each student. If Murphy heard a student was having trouble at home or in any situation, he often did everything he could do to help, even opening his wallet to help buy shoes, a coat, school supplies or giving a student money to attend prom. Humor was always part of his teaching and most students looked forward to his class. Jim's classroom was filled with plants and many kinds of animals including snakes, lizards, birds, including an owl named Socrates. (The state let him keep the owl because it had a broken wing.) Jim had a ferret, hamsters, insects, guinea pigs and tropical fish. Most of the times he bought feed with money from his own pocket. At one point he was voted Montana's best science teacher. In 1983, Jim was transferred to Lincoln Junior High where he taught for 2 years under chaotic circumstances. Nonetheless, he did the same quality job there as he did at Lewis and Clark. Jim was transferred to Castle Rock where he again distinguished himself and was loved and respected by his students and faculty alike. Finally, Jim Murphy was transferred to Billings Senior High. He became a Bronc through and through. As usual he became a respected faculty member who did anything he could to help his students in or out of the classroom. He later became the head of the science department at Senior. He was respected by students and faculty and was known for his loyalty and compassion. He retired in 2004. Over the years Mr. Murphy had over 5000 Billings' students.

His friend Bob Sandler said,’ I met Jim Murphy in 1969 at Lewis and Clark Junior High. We began a friendship of 50 years. Jim was the kindest human being I ever knew. He befriended my wife and was like the godfather to my two boys. Jim was never too busy to help me in any way he could. In any situation either good or bad he was always there to help. He was my brother from another mother. But I wasn't alone, Jim was that way with everyone he liked. He was genuine, honest and the greatest friend. You were a lucky person indeed if you knew Jim Murphy.’

Jim was preceded in death by the following: his father and mother Bill and Marie Murphy; Grandparents Jim and Lizzie Brooks; Lee and Cecile Murphy, Great Aunts and Uncles Bertha and Hank Vidack, Margaret Watson; Aunts and Uncles Mae Tootell, Gene and Barbara Brooks, Jim and Ora Brooks, Ray and May Brooks, Oleta and Don Murphy, Bob and Alice Murphy, Cecil Murphy, Jack Moran and Madonna Moran France; Cousins Joe and Sharon Brooks, Mike Murphy, Pat Murphy, Jason Brooks; Good Friends Bob Burris, Art Jacobson, Kay and Marvin Will and Jane Cleveland.

Jim is survived by the following: his sister and brother-in-law Bitsy and Jr. DeGidio; Brothers Don and Tim Murphy; Niece and Nephews Debi and Lance Bigelow, Dean DeGidio; Great Nieces and Nephews Cherice DeGidio (Owen Williams), Vito and Keely DeGidio, Karina DeGidio; Great-Great Niece and Nephew, Marlee Marie Williams, Baby Boy DeGidio (To be born); Cousins Judy Vidack, Bobbi and Russell Menge, Don Tootell, June and Bob Schweitzer, Shirley Vandyken, Sharon and Steve Baker, Sammi and Craig Brodahl, Mike Brooks, Sherri and Farron McWilliams, Sean Brooks, Best Friend Bob Sandler (like a brother); Good friends Michelle and David Kilborn; Caretaker and friend Amy Weber; His two special dogs Molly and Harry, and numerous other cousins and family members. Wonderful caring neighbors, friends, fellow teachers, and students.

Donations in Jim's name can be made to: Bark Shelter, The Humane Society, Billings Sr. High activities or a charity of your choice. Thank you for caring so much for Jim (Bud) and us as a family during this sad time. Our hearts will have a hole forever and we will miss Bud deeply, but he is at peace and happy in heaven planting, smiling, and running through fields of four leaf clovers. GO Irish!! Say an Irish prayer for Jim please.

God Bless you all!