WEST HARTFORD – Father Arthur J. Murphy, pastor emeritus of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, died on Dec. 20, 2013, at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, with his brother Steve at his side.
He was a son of the late James J. and Lucy Jackman Murphy of West Hartford. He was baptized on Dec. 16, 1929, by Father John F. Callahan, the founding pastor of St. Thomas, and was a member of the first graduating class of St. Thomas the Apostle School. He also graduated in 1949 from St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield and in 1955 from St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester, N.Y.
He was ordained on May 19, 1955, in the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, by the late Archbishop Henry J. O’Brien.
Father Murphy, who celebrated 50 years of priesthood in 2005, was an instructor in religion and marriage at Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury from 1958-61 and at South Catholic High School in Hartford from 1965-91. He was a member of the Capitol Region Conference of Churches for 25 years. He was a former chaplain for the Catholic Daughters in the Americas and, at the time of his death, had served as chaplain of Council 3600 Knights of Columbus at his parish.
After a temporary assignment at St. Thomas Parish in Goshen in 1955, he served at St. Mary in Lakeville from 1955-57, St. Patrick in Waterbury from 1957-64, Sacred Heart in Wethersfield from 1964-75, St. Mark the Evangelist in West Hartford from 1974-91, and, until his retirement in 2011, at St. Thomas the Apostle. He had continued to assist at St. Thomas until recently.
He is survived by his siblings, Sister of Mercy Mary Ellen Murphy, at the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford; Vincent C. Murphy of Sherman; Sheila Rose Gilbert of North Falmouth, Mass.; and Stephen D. Murphy of West Hartford; and by many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister Anne Marie Melly.
Archbishop Leonard P. Blair was the principal celebrant of a Mass of Christian Burial on Dec. 23 at St. Thomas the Apostle. Burial was in the family plot at Mount St. Benedict Cemetery in Bloomfield.