Francis R. Murphy

Francis R. Murphy

October 7th, 1930 November 19th, 2019

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Obituary for Francis R. "Frank" Murphy

Francis Richard "Frank" Murphy was born in Exeter NH in 1930. He grew up in Amesbury Massachusetts where his parents (Francis and Helene) and brother Bob lived in a house across the yard from the Irish immigrant family homestead where two aunts and an uncle (Margaret, Alice, and Martin) provided a second home to him throughout their lives.
After graduating from St. James High School in Haverhill, Massachusetts, he continued his education at the College of the Holy Cross from which he graduated in 1952. He then served in the U.S. Navy until 1955 before moving with his new bride Claire Anne (Russell) Murphy to their first home in Brunswick, Maine, where their oldest son was born. After a move to Waltham, Massachusetts, four more children were added to the family.
Most of his professional life was spent as a systems engineer and project manager for the MITRE Corporation. That job offered him the opportunity for world travel which his family enjoyed in the form of slide shows until he brought them all along with him for a two and a half year posting at NATO headquarters in Brussels. The young family of seven - ranging in age from 12 years to 7 months old - survived their initial boot camp of living out of boxes in a downtown Brussels hotel for several weeks, eventually settling into their Belgian home from which they travelled extensively throughout western Europe. He returned with his family to greater Boston in 1972. There he continued his work until his retirement from MITRE in 1994 when he was awarded a plaque of "special appreciation for personal contributions to the success of MITRE's international projects."
He filled his post-employment years with not only frequent practice of his beloved golf but also extensive library service, starting first as a trustee of the Robbins Library of Arlington, Massachusetts. He later added to that local work the state-wide position of commissioner of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, a board of which he was chair for several years. Both an avid reader and a hard-wired analyst of systems, he applied both of those traits to many years of good work for the libraries of the Commonwealth. Until very recently, he was still attending meetings of library constituents in many far-flung corners of the state. He was also a 30+ year patron of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
He leaves behind his wife Claire of Arlington, Massachusetts, son Kevin of Maynard Massachusetts and daughter-in-law Kris, son Daniel of Tewksbury Massachusetts and daughter-in-law Diane, daughter Anne Marie of Worcester Massachusetts, son Paul of Arlington Massachusetts, and daughter Catherine of Arlington Massachusetts. He also leaves behind grandchildren Cecilia and Ciaran Murphy, Erin and Matt Murphy, Claire Murphy, Shea and Tighe and Justin Gleason.
Funeral from the Keefe Funeral Home, 5 Chestnut Street, Arlington on Saturday at 9 am. Funeral mass in Saint Agnes’ Church at 10 am. Relatives and friends invited. Visiting hours Friday 5-8 pm. Burial in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Arlington. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Arlington Libraries Foundation, To send an online condolence visit

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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Friday, November 22nd, 2019 | 5:00pm - 8:00pm
    Keefe Funeral Home - Arlington
    5 Chestnut St.
    Arlington, MA
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    Friday, November 22nd, 2019
    5:00pm - 8:00pm
  • Funeral Mass

    Saturday, November 23rd, 2019 | 10:00am
    Saint Agnes Church
    51 Medford Street
    Arlington, MA
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    Saturday, November 23rd, 2019
  • Interment

    Saturday, November 23rd, 2019 |
    Mount Pleasant Cemetery
    Medford Street
    Arlington, MA
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

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Char Beverly

My warmest condolences to Frank's family. At MITRE, I worked under his management for a couple of years, a time I benefited from his competence and kindness.
Comment | Posted at 09:37am via Condolence

Paul Jeannette

Sending my sympathies to you and your family. Frank and I spent many good times playing at Cranberry Valley. May your good memories sustain you. You're in my thoughts.
Comment | Posted at 06:40pm via Condolence

Dianne Carty

For at least a decade I worked with Frank as a staff member at the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. Especially memorable for me were the months that I worked closely with him when I was Acting Director and then Director. Indeed there are very few people like Frank. He was an old-school gentleman. He was a studied, thoughtful, supportive and kind person who will be sorely missed by so very many people. My condolences to the family.
Comment | Posted at 12:05pm via Condolence

Patience Jackson

Frank Murphy was a wise and patient member and Chair of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. As a staff member, I very much appreciated his wisdom and insight. My condolences to his family.
Comment | Posted at 09:02pm via Condolence

Mary Ann Cluggish

My condolences especially to the family, and in fact, to everyone who knew Frank, because if you knew him, you know that his death is a loss to this world. You don't get to meet a man with as many wonderful qualities very often in life. Frank was one of those genuine, generous, kind, wonderful human beings which this world needs more of. I was fortunate enough to work with him on the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, where his contribution will not be forgotten.
Comment | Posted at 01:41pm via Condolence

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