Obituary; Kenneth B. Murphy, at 78, Retired Pastor

Boston Herald
May 27, 1999

The Rev. Kenneth B. Murphy of West Hyannisport, retired pastor of Holy Name Parish in West Roxbury, died Saturday evening at his home after a lengthy illness. He was 78.

Born in Roxbury, Father Murphy grew up in Roslindale. He moved to West Hyannisport permanently in 1996.

He graduated from Boston English High School in 1939. In 1946, he graduated from St. John's Seminary and was ordained a priest.

Father Murphy was assigned to St. Patrick's in Lowell and St. Jerome's in North Weymouth before serving at St. Francis de Sales in Charlestown from 1949 to 1971. After two years as a pastor at St. Vincent de Paul in South Boston, he was appointed pastor of Holy Name Church in West Roxbury. He retired in 1996.

Father Murphy founded Rescue, Inc., a suicide prevention program, when he was an assistant pastor at St. Francis de Sales. In a 1961 Saturday Evening Post article, he said the idea came to him in 1959 after he got a call from a 17-year-old parishioner who threatened to kill himself.

Murphy eventually talked the teen out of suicide, accompanying him to a psychologist. Over the next several weeks, Boston police called on Murphy to talk two young men out of jumping to their deaths, including one who had climbed on a building ledge in downtown Boston.

He started Rescue Inc. with $ 5,000 donated by Richard Cardinal Cushing.

He was a member of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre; the Knights of Columbus Council 3049 in West Roxbury; and the Fourth Degree Father McGivney Assembly in West Roxbury. He was state chaplain emeritus of the Massachusetts Knights of Columbus.

Father Murphy is survived by his brother, R. Leo of Tampa, Fla.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Holy Name Church.

Burial will be in Knollwood Memorial Park, Canton.

Arrangements by John H. Sawyer Funeral Home, Charlestown.

Any original material on these pages is copyright 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
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