Bob Murphy (1948-2020)

Robert Murphy

Robert Murphy

Robert J. Murphy, 72, the former longtime president of the Beacon Historical Society, died on July 10 of cancer.

He was born June 2, 1948, the son of Robert and Elizabeth Murphy. A 1966 graduate of Beacon High School, he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Manhattan College and a master’s degree from SUNY Albany.

Bob served as president of the Beacon Historical Society from 1998 to 2018 and wrote the society’s monthly newsletter for 38 years. He also co-authored two books, Historic Beacon and Beacon Revisited, and was working a third title at the time of his death. He wrote a blog on Beacon history for the society from 2017 to 2019 that he allowed The Current to excerpt.

“We all enjoyed and looked forward to receiving Bob’s newsletters, attending his interesting lectures, and conversing with him on history,” the Beacon Historical Society said on its website. “Bob was everywhere: marching in a parade, cleaning a memorial at the VFW or giving a tour at the local cemetery — always at the ready with a story and a connection…. Bob’s keen mind and sense of humor will surely be missed.”

Bob was the recipient of the Dutchess County Historical Society’s Dutchess Award, recognizing his contributions as a local historian, and in 2019 was honored at the Beacon Historical Society’s third annual Beacons of History Awards.

He was an avid reader, writer, bread baker, photographer, gardener and woodworker. In his younger years, Bob was a talented baseball player and skater who loved playing hockey beside his nephews, his family said. For 38 years, he and his sister, Diane, enjoyed daily walks and hikes to Mount Beacon, Denning’s Point and other points around the city. He taught himself to develop negatives and made thousands of prints for the historical society archives.

A prolific gardener, Bob took pride in his tomato patch and sharing his crop. He was a self-taught carpenter and his benches, bookshelves and birds are scattered throughout the Hudson Valley. More recently, Bob’s carving resulted in a series of creative birds.

He is survived by his five sisters: Diane Murphy and Barbara O’Leary of Beacon, Linda Murphy of Tivoli, Kathleen Zimmer of Queensbury and Maureen McInnis of South Glens Falls, as well as 14 nieces and nephews.

A private Mass of Christian Burial will be followed by burial at St. Joachim Cemetery in Beacon. Memorial donations may be made to the Beacon Historical Society, P.O. Box 89, Beacon, NY 12508 ( or to St. Joachim – St. John the Evangelist Church, 2 Oak St., Beacon, NY 12508.

Information provided by Riverview Funeral Home by Halvey

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