Charles James Murphy
Born in Greensburg, Pa., in 1924, Charles Murphy, 95, (aka Daddy) died peacefully Aug. 10, 2020, in Alameda. He led a life of accomplishment marked by hard work, a great wit and a love of the outdoors. His family credits his long life to sheer tenacity, the enduring love and care of his wife of 70 years Honora Murphy and a wee bit of Irish luck.
Raised during the Great Depression in Pittsburgh, Pa. He joined the service in 1942 during World War II serving first in the Army Air Force and then the Navy, remaining a reservist during the Korean War. He earned his bachelor degree in business administration at Duquesne in 1949
Married in 1950, the couple began raising their family while Charles attended night school at University of Pittsburgh to become an electrical engineer. When he graduated in 1961 the family made the papers with the headline “Father of 8 graduates from Pitt.”
In 1964, the family migrated to California and settled in Alameda. They went on to raise 14 children in a large Victorian home near Franklin Park, moving in retirement to a bayfront home on the West End.
His engineering career started at Westinghouse, where Charles worked on the design of the first nuclear submarine, The Nautilus. A certified professional engineer in electrical, nuclear, controlled systems and quality assurance, he later joined Kaiser Engineers in Oakland for the next 20 years where he worked on various nuclear and solar projects. In 2015, he celebrated 50 years as a professional engineer.
Charles loved the outdoors; taking his family on many camping, fishing and hunting trips across California. Just shy of 60, Charles retired early and enjoyed a long retirement. He loved a spot on the water and spent many years enjoying a second home on the Russian River in Monte Rio, Calif.
A 56-year resident of Alameda. He was a congregant at St. Joseph Basilica and St. Barnabas Catholic Churches, a member of the Encinal Yacht Club, Alameda Rod & Gun Club and many other community organizations over the years. Notably, (although more of a silent partner) Charles always supported his wife Honora in her extensive community work which has won her various honors in the city and region.
Charles is best remembered by his friends and family for his sense of humor, which did not desert him even in these last months of his life. His wit in conversation was well known and his intentional misspellings and crafty notes were enjoyed by his family.
He was preceded in death by sons Jim, Dan, Son in law Paul Miller and Sister Margaret.
Charles is survived by his loving wife Honora Murphy, their 12 surviving children and spouses Kathleen (Paul) Miller, Mary Ellen Holden, Daughter in law Celeste McMullin (Wife of Dan), Eileen (Ron) Neulinger, Joe (Victoria), Dr. Loretta (Paul Allen), Laura (David Jaffe), Michael (Joanna Wong), Matt (Maarit Tallila-Murphy), Tim, Bernard, Richard (Tina), Ann (Jesse Daniels); Grandfather of Hugh Holden (Pippa Everard-West), Heather (Todd Speight) Holden, Brian (Bet) Miller, Sara Miller, Thomas Neulinger, Natalie (Cameron) Stuart, Steve (Michaela) Hammerson, Cate Jaffe, Fiona Murphy, Kendric Murphy, Cedric Murphy, Patric Murphy, Marja-Inkeri Murphy, Aidan Murphy and Seamus Murphy; Great grandfather of Yasmine Simone Smith, Layla Foley; Sydnee & Nolan Miller; Alex Jameson; Theodore & Joe Hammerson; Brother of Thomas Murphy and Bill Murphy & his family the “Texas Murphys”.
Many thanks to the caregivers at Elders Inn who cared for Charles the last few months of his life when we could not.
A memorial service will be held in a future virus free location. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Friends of the Alameda Free Library, www.alamedafriends.com; where you can find books and materials on Charles’ favorite subjects: hydroelectric dams, topographical maps of the Sierra Nevada, best fishing in the Bay and Delta, California Beach access, raising quail, growing vegetables and repair manuals for cars made between 1930 and 1970.
Condolences may be made to the family at www.greermortuary.com/tributes/Charles-Murphy.