The Reverend Lawrence W. Murphy, Ph.D., age 91

Died January 31 at Westwood Place in Woodsfield, Ohio, with two of his children nearby, after declining for several months.

He was born in Tonawanda, N.Y., on Sept. 17, 1924, a son of the late Joseph Patrick Murphy and Juliana Rita (Schuster) Murphy. Larry was a renowned linguist, college professor and cryptoanalyst who had taught 14 languages, commercially translated 31, and could read more than 50. He was the first child in his extended Austro-Hungarian immigrant family to be raised speaking English and the first to earn a college degree.

He grew up in a Central European enclave in Buffalo, N.Y., where a dozen languages were spoken. He attended Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Elementary School and Kensington and Riverside high schools in Buffalo, where he excelled at long distance running as well as languages. He joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 and served in England, France and Belgium. After the armistice he remained in Europe for a year, representing the USA in the Army Olympics as well as in track and field competitions throughout Europe. He earned a B.A. in History at Canisius College in Buffalo in 1949, an M.A. in French at the University of Buffalo (now SUNY at Buffalo) in 1960, and a Ph.D. in Linguistics at Indiana University in 1968.

During his 55-year career, he taught seven foreign languages in primary and secondary schools and at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, which he helped establish. He also worked at the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, which granted the highest civilian award to him for his exceptional innovations. He helped establish the American Translators Association and created and taught the first Introduction to Professional Translation course.

Larry was an avid birder, especially in the Buffalo area. A tireless observer oblivious to cold weather, he and his cadre of hardcore birding pals hitchhiked throughout western New York and southern Canada documenting the first occurrence of several species of birds. In 1975 he founded the Otero County (NM) Bird Club (now the United Field Ornithologists of Roswell). He also was active in the Maryland Ornithological Society for many years. In 2013 the Buffalo Ornithological Society presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the knowledge of birds of the Niagara Frontier Region.

Overshadowing his intellectual and avocational achievements was his livelong devotion to Catholicism and his abiding faith in Jesus Christ. His simple spirituality imbued him with an aura of humility. His Army chaplain recommended that he enter the priesthood, but instead Larry married and raised five children. In 1983 he was ordained a Deacon in El Paso, Texas. He served in that capacity for 20 years. He was a lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus.

Those who knew Larry remember him as a genuinely kind, extremely polite, gentle, caring man whose most intense expressions were “Son of a pup!” and “For the love of Mike!” He always had time to listen to those in need of his advice. His children remember him as a hardworking, loyal and dedicated husband, father and friend.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Bernadette Isabelle (Cooley) Murphy on July 15, 2014, and brother Donald Patrick Murphy.

He is survived by a brother, Dennis Joseph Murphy, of Louisville, Ky.; five children: Martie (Bob) Heins of Woodsfield, Ohio; William (April) Murphy of Fishers, Ind.; Isabelle Chasse of Huntington Beach, Calif.; James (Mary) Murphy of Greeley, Colo.; and Joseph (Robin) Murphy of Lanham; 13 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Feb 3 at St. Sylvester Catholic Church in Woodsfield, Ohio, with Rev. Fr. David Gaydosik officiating. Burial followed at the church cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Buffalo Ornithological Society, c/o Bob DeLeon, 381 Cadman Drive, Williamsville, NY 14221.

Arrangements by Bauer-Turner Funeral Home 100 S. Paul St. Woodsfield, Ohio 43793.

Condolences may be expressed online at

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