Commonly called “Pat,” he was born in Brooklyn, New York, on October 25, 1919, to Ellen and Walter Murphy. He was a 1941 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and was a career naval officer, serving for 30 years. During this time, he was in submarines and completed many patrols to the Pacific during World War II and was awarded two Silver Stars for his service. He subsequently commanded two submarines and a fleet replenishment oiler.
He received a master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Caltech and was associated with the Polaris missile program. He retired in August 1966 and went to work for NASA as chief of staff to the director of Kennedy Space Center during the entire Apollo moon landing program. In 1977, he was posted to Paris where he served as the NASA European representative for five years. There followed five years as head of the NASA office at Vandenberg Air Force Base, before retiring a second time in July 1983. During each of his three assignments he was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.
Upon retiring, he settled in Santa Barbara and volunteered with the American Red Cross-Santa Barbara County Chapter and Catholic Charities of Santa Barbara County, and was a Eucharistic minister for the Santa Barbara Mission. He enjoyed playing golf and an occasional game of poker with his pals and always had a good Irish joke to share with his friends. Having grown up in Brooklyn, he remained an avid Dodger fan for his whole life. He moved to Vista del Monte in 2007.
His wife of 58 years, Ruth Murphy, predeceased him in 1999 as well as his daughter, Susan Orr, and his son, Michael Edwin Murphy. He is survived by his son, Capt. Patrick Murphy USN (Ret) and wife Virginia of Port Republic, Maryland, and daughter-in-law Lin Murphy of Yarmouth, Maine. He is also survived by seven grandchildren — Patrick Sean Murphy, Kevin James Murphy, Matthew Ryan Murphy and wife Britt, Steven Orr, Karin Orr Sims, Sally Shannon Orr, Kendellyn Murphy Cavanaugh Gagne and husband Chris — and six great-grandchildren.
A Memorial Mass was held at San Roque Catholic Church. An inurnment will be held at a later date at the U.S. Naval Academy columbarium in Annapolis, Maryland, where he will join his wife.
Arrangements were entrusted to McDermott-Crockett Mortuary.