November 17, 2017

Robert Peter Murphy

Posted

Robert Peter Murphy, of Seekonk and West Tisbury passed away on Oct. 17, 2017. He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Sheila Campbell Murphy, and his daughter, Elaine Murphy Keller of El Segundo, California. He also leaves several nieces and nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews.

Mr. Murphy grew up on Long Island where he was a member of the Far Rockaway Public High School Rifle Team. In 1946, he was awarded the Daniel Morgan Trophy by the National Rifle Association as the best marksman from all of the high school rifle teams in direct competition on the same day in the United States. He was also the sole recipient that year of the Wingate Memorial Medal from the New York City Public School Athletic League for the combination of his athletic and academic achievements. He was the only student in the history of the New York City school system to have accomplished this.

Following his graduation from St. John’s University, Mr. Murphy served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Korea as a second lieutenant combat grunt. He was decorated for gallantry against the North Korean and Chinese forces. He continued his service in the Marine Corps Reserves, retiring as a captain. He received an MBA from the Wharton Graduate School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1959.

He had long-standing ties to the local business community beginning with Leach & Garner following his active duty in Korea. After receiving his MBA, he worked at Texas Instruments in Attleboro for 10 years wherein, among other things, he was responsible for the removal of silver from the United States currency. Following that, he purchased the Fairfield Optical Company in Mansfield with his partner Joe Ludwig in 1970. By 1975, the firm controlled 40 percent of the children’s market in the United States and 90 percent of U.S. government work in Europe and Africa. By 1984, the Chinese and Hong Kong optical businesses were appropriating optical designs of Fairfield and the entire industry without compensation and selling those products back to wholesalers in the U.S. As a result, it became impossible for our industry and Fairfield to continue. The firm closed its doors, sold its assets, including the new factory, machinery, work benches, etc., paid its creditors and found jobs for its people in the Mansfield Industrial Park.

Mr. Murphy became a landlord on the East Side of Providence catering to PhD. candidates and medical students at Brown University. This had been his retirement activity.

In a speech to 600 people held at the King Philip Memorial Hall for the retirement of Fred Ochsner and the introduction of his replacement Bill Polleys, he said that a good leader can only be as good as the people who work for him.

His parting message: “Thank you to the many people I met, worked for and particularly those who worked for me over the course of my career. I was fortunate to know you. I hope we meet again in the Great Beyond.”

No formal services will be held. Each person may remember Bob in his or her own way.

For additional information, please visit an online guest book at www.dyer-lakefuneralhome.com.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Dyer-Lake Funeral Home, 161 Commonwealth Ave, Village of Attleboro Falls, North Attleboro, 508-695-0200.

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