Jesuit Father Francis J. Murphy died March 21, 2014, in St. Louis. He was 93 years old and a Jesuit for 67 years. Born in Kansas City, Mo., on Feb. 15, 1921, Fr. Murphy graduated from Rockhurst High School in 1938 and Rockhurst University in 1942. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was a commander of landing craft infantry.
On Aug. 18, 1946, Fr. Murphy entered the Society of Jesus at St. Stanislaus Seminary in Florissant, Mo. After novitiate, Fr. Murphy studied philosophy at Saint Louis University. He taught English and history at Creighton Preparatory School for one year and then began theology studies at St. Mary’s College in Kansas in 1953. He was ordained to the priesthood at St. Mary’s in 1956 and completed a Licentiate in Sacred Theology in 1957.
After tertianship in Decatur, Ill., Fr. Murphy completed a master’s in industrial labor relations at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. He joined the faculty of the Industrial Relations Department at Rockhurst University in 1960, a position he held until his retirement in 1991.
For many years, Fr. Murphy worked as an arbitrator in labor disputes between unions and employers in the Kansas City area. He was respected as a knowledgeable and neutral third party who would carefully weigh the arguments of both sides and make a fair decision.
Fr. Murphy was highly regarded by members of the Rockhurst University Jesuit community, known for both his wisdom and kindness. He served as the first independent rector of the community from 1969 to 1974, gently guiding the community during a time of significant change. In 1985 he was appointed a Provincial Consultor, a position he held until 1994.
In 2002, Fr. Murphy joined the Fusz Pavilion Community in St. Louis where he prayed for the Church and the Society of Jesus and offered support and encouragement to his brother Jesuits. Fr. Murphy is preceded in death by his sister, Mrs. Joan Miller, and his brother, Jesuit Father Robert L. Murphy. He is survived by his nieces, Nancy Moxcey and Rosemary Sheehan.
Memorial gifts may be made to the USA Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus at 4511 West Pine Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108 or through this website.