MADISON / MILWAUKEE—Richard “Dick” Murphy, age 90, boxed his final round on Wednesday, July 10, 2019. Born Oct. 21, 1928, in Milwaukee, he was the fourth of five children to John Maurice and Hazel (Bassett) Murphy.
Dick attended Pius XI High School in Milwaukee, where he met Janet Shurr in typing class. They were Homecoming King and Queen and were married 70 years. Dick said that his greatest win was being “Mrs. Murphy’s Husband.”
Dick excelled in sports. His storied boxing career began in 1946, when he entered the Golden Gloves under the pseudonym Patrick O’Reilly to avoid trouble from his mom. Dick had a problem when a judge recognized him because of the distinctive white streak in his hair! He went on to win overseas tournaments while serving as an Army Paratrooper in the Korean War. He boxed four years at UW Madison, winning individual and team NCAA Championships and was team captain. He also played three years of semi-pro football.
Dick was inducted into the University of Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Madison Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.
In 1953, Dick joined the Miller Brewing Company in marketing, which led to moves across the country before the family returned to Milwaukee in 1966. In 1976, Dick and Janet moved to Madison to open Murphy Distributing, which was sold to Frank Distributors in 1980 and where Dick worked until his “first” retirement in 1991. After a few years hunting and fishing, he joined Restaino & Bunbury as a real estate agent until 2000, when Janet retired from Our Lady Queen of Peace School.
Nothing could match the pride and love Dick had for his six children, 15 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren. He loved them equally and endlessly and instilled in them the importance of keeping your word, saving your money and remembering family is ALWAYS there for you. His advice, often in the form of a letter, was memorable. He let you know when you messed up, made you deal with the consequences, and always said he loved you.
Dick is survived by his sister, Eileen (Ed) Polzine; children, Patrick (Gerry) Murphy, Kathleen (Glenn) Pentler, Daniel Murphy, Erin (Greg) Marks and Colleen (David) Penwell; son-in-law, Ken (Kathy) Sadowski; grandchildren, Lara (Joe) Szatmary, Lisa (Brian) Kwiatkowski, Lynn (Chris) McIntyre, Luke (Ann) Sadowski, Katie (Dave) Bluestone, Tim (Jessica) Murphy, Natalie (Wes) Matthews, John (Mary), Mark (Kali) and Steven Pentler, Kelly and Jeff (Amy) Marks, and Anderley, Grace and Murphy Penwell; 27 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Janet, in August 2018; daughter, Jane Sadowski, in 2003; parents; in-laws; and sisters.
Dick had lifelong friends and enjoyed countless games of gin rummy at Tuesday lunch. He was an avid hunter and fisherman and huge Badgers fan.
Special thanks to the staff at All Saints Assisted Living for their care, patience and humor; the wise staff at Agrace; and loyal cousin, Wendy.
In lieu of flowers, contributions are appreciated to Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish or to the University of Wisconsin Boxing Club.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at OUR LADY QUEEN OF PEACE CHURCH, 401 S. Owen Drive, Madison, at 11 a.m. on Monday, July 15, 2019, with Monsignor Kenneth Fiedler presiding. Military rites will follow the service. Visitation will be held at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of the Mass on Monday.
Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.
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