Funeral services will be held later this week for Frank Murphy, a former town supervisor and decorated war veteran whose connections to the community extended far beyond politics. He died Sunday at age 81.
Viewing will take place at the DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Home in Mattituck on Wednesday evening from 7 to 9 and on Thursday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9.
A funeral mass will be held on Friday at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Mattituck with burial following at the Calverton National Cemetery.
Current Southold Supervisor Scott Russell said he was “shocked and saddened” to hear of Mr. Murphy’s passing. “This is a real loss to the community,” he said.
Mr. Russell ordered the town’s flags lowered to half-staff.
“He was a mentor to me,” said Mr. Russell. “He was always generous with his time and knowledge.
and always an encouraging word. He was more than a supervisor, he was a family friend.”
Mr. Murphy served as a town councilman from 1981 to 1983 and during that time was deputy supervisor under former supervisor Bill Pell.
“He was tops in my book, one of the best,” said Mr. Pell. “The town lost a good man.”
Mr. Murphy served three two-year terms as supervisor before leaving office in 1989.
“He was a great man,” said Town Democratic Party chairman Art Tillman, a friend since the 1970s. “He was a good guy, always mild-mannered and a real family man. It’s a tough loss.”
Beyond his time in Town Hall, Mr. Murphy served for 20 years as a Mattituck Parks District commissioner, 15 years on the Laurel School Board and 30 years each as a volunteer fireman and Mattituck Lions Club member.
The Bronx native served in the army during the Korean War, winning two Bronze Stars for valor and three Purple Heart citations for being wounded in battle.
Ruthann Woodhull, who currently Mr. Russell’s confidential secretary, first came to Town Hall to work for Mr. Murphy in that same capacity.
A Mattituck native, Ms. Woodhull recalled that many of her friends found jobs at Mr. Murphy’s garden center and landscaping business.
“He must have hired hundreds of kids over time, and they all liked him,” she said.
Among them is Supervisor Russell, who worked for Mr. Murphy while in high school.
“He was an excellent boss and a wonderful man to work for,” Mr. Russell said. “Hard work and good pay.”
“I loved Frank from the bottom of my heart,” said longtime friend Joyce Grattan. “He did a tremendous amount for this town that nobody knows about. He did so many things for so many people without publicity and without any expectation of thanks, just because it was the right thing to do.”
Mr. Murphy is survived by his wife, Betty, and five children, Liza Murphy, Michael Murphy, Kathleen Murphy, Barbara Murphy Smith, Mary Murphy Claudio and six grandchildren.