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Funds distributed to date total $516,000.
Lt. Raymond Murphy Memorial Scholarship Fund
RAYMOND E. MURPHY
Ray was the fourth of five sons born to Edward J. and Eileen Murphy. Older Brothers William, Robert and Edward preceded him, and he was an older brother to Kenneth. When he was six, Ray’s family moved from the Yorkville section of Manhattan , to the Castle Hill section of the Bronx . Ray spent the next 13 years growing up in the Castle Hill Housing Projects, a neighborhood comprised of every ethnic and racial background imaginable. By all accounts, Ray had a wonderful childhood. He seemed to have been born with the effervescent personality we would all come to know later in his life. Indeed, friendships made by Ray as a child lasted throughout his lifetime. Dennis, Smitty, Bombo, and the rest of the Castle Hill crew remained close even as they raised their own families. Ray also met his first and only true love, Linda, during the Castle Hill years.
Ray’s parents felt it was important that their boys attend parochial school. They wanted to have the values of family and religion they taught in their home to be reinforced in their children’s education. It was a theme that would remain with Ray as he and Linda raised their own family. Education was so important to Ray’s parents that Ray’s mom would work nights in a bank specifically to pay tuition for her boys. Ask any of Ray’s brothers and they will say the same thing. Ray was special! As a child, Ray never complained, he displayed qualities of compassion, fairness and love towards family and friends that would only strengthen into manhood. Ray would follow his brothers in school at Holy Family Grammar School and St. Raymond’s High School.
In 1973, Ray’s parents, with Ray and Kenny in tow, moved to the Bronx neighborhood known as Throgs Neck. Ray learned to love this area so much he decided to raise and educate his children and build his house right there in that same neighborhood. In 1974, Ray’s dad died and Ray went to work to try and help his mom with the household bills. Ray and Linda had been dating during this time and decided to marry. On November 25, 1978 , a union that was meant to be took place in front of all of Ray and Linda’s many friends and families. With their marriage, Ray and Linda also had a life plan. They both wanted children but realized they needed to plan financially before starting a family. Ray and Linda both worked, slowly saving money to buy a first home in 1981. Ray worked with his hands as a marble setter and then as a route salesmen for Perrier and 7-UP. In 1980, Ray started to study and train for the FDNY, a job that was to become a vocation and the center of his life—after his Faith and Family.
In January, 1982, Ray entered the Fire Academy and soon knew that this was his calling. The challenge offered by his new job piqued Ray’s interest in a way that would stay with him—literally—until the day he died. It is not often that a man or woman can go to work on a daily basis and never lose the love of his job. The hard work of being a firefighter was more than offset by the camaraderie, laughter, and good-natured day-to-day living in a firehouse. Ray never had a bad day in the FDNY.
With a starter home, a new job that he loved, and a loving wife, it was time to start a family! On September 9, 1983 , Raymond Edward Murphy, Jr. was born. Ray and Linda’s life plan was
In 1993, Ray announced to Linda that he wanted to move the family to a small community within Throgs Neck, closer to the water. Although Silver Beach was only blocks from their present home, Ray felt it was a good move for the boys as they would be only a block from their church and school, St. Francis de Chantal. When Ray took Linda to see the new object of his affection, she saw a house which was small, old, and in need of much repair. It did have a nice piece of land, and was only a few yards from the water, but surely it would not be big enough for the entire Murphy crew. That’s when Ray announced he had it all planned. Breaking out floor plans he drew himself, he explained how they could refinance the present home for materials and a down payment. Yes, but how do we pay someone to build it, worried Linda. Ray hadn’t read all those books for nothing; he would build it! Ray’s brother Eddie describes a seven-day period in November, 1993, when Ray, with the assistance of 20 to 30 brother firefighters and childhood friends, dismantled the roof and attic space of this old bungalow and replaced it with a completely framed second-story addition big enough for three new bedrooms and a bathroom. Fifteen-hour days were typically punctuated by the sounds of power saws, hammers, off-color jokes and laughter. It was amazing to see the brotherhood of being a firefighter at work! In the spring of 1994, Linda, Ray, and the boys moved into the house that Ray built! Ray and Linda’s life plan continued, and times were good.
Ray and Linda had made a decision to have the boys attend the parish school. They wanted the values the boys learned at home to be reinforced at school. With the boys in school all day and tuitions to be paid, Linda decided it was time to go back to school to continue her education, and she enrolled in nursing school. The Murphy house was a busy house. Ray would make dinner some nights, Linda on others, the boys would be studying, Linda would be studying, and Ray would finally make an honest effort at studying for the NYFD Lieutenant test while working two jobs. Organized chaos, if done together, brings wonderful results. Linda graduated from nursing school, the boys flourished in school, and Ray made the Lieutenants’ list. Ray and Linda’s life plan progressed and times were good!
Throughout Ray’s life, he lived for family. All birthdays and holidays were celebrated as a family. Ray had four brothers, and Linda had four sisters and one brother. That meant a lot of nieces and nephews and each felt Ray’s love. He loved being in front of the barbecue creating, with a cold beer in hand. Of course, the one special family member was Ray’s mom Eileen, who was acknowledged the Murphy family Matriarch. When Ray’s dad had died, Ray and his brothers Kenny, both of whom still lived at home at the time, had formed a special bond with their Mom. In the early 1980’s, Eileen had been diagnosed with a neurological illness, which left her confined to a wheelchair, but otherwise physically and mentally healthy. Until her dying day, December 15, 2000 , Ray doted on her as only he could. If anything needed fixing, if she needed lifting, it was only her Ray she would trust to do it. Through God’s good grace, Ray’s mom was present to see Ray promoted to Lieutenant in September 2000, and, thankfully, she went before Ray’s untimely death to greet him at the Gates of Heaven.
Ray and Linda’s life plan continued. Linda worked as a nurse, Ray was promoted to Lieutenant, and young Ray graduated from Iona Prep and started college at Albany University . Sean graduated from St. Frances de Chantal and started his freshman year at Archbishop Stepinac High School . Ray left for work one day to do the job he loved and never came home. Ray’s short, wonderful life cannot be told in a few pages, but hopefully those who never had the pleasure can get a small glimpse of a giant man. There will never be words to describe the loss of Ray. We remember his grin, his dry, unique sense of humor. Most of all, we remember his humanity, his total lack of self, always giving and expecting only love and friendship in return. The Raymond E. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Fund is our creation, our need to keep Ray’s memory alive by helping young people.