James “Jim” Michael Murphy, 77, died peacefully at Taylor House Hospice on October 12, 2020. Visitation will be held Sunday, October 18, 2020 from 4 to 6 p.m. with a prayer service at 5:30 p.m. at Hamilton’s on Westown Parkway, 3601 Westown Parkway in West Des Moines. Mass of Christian burial will be held Monday, October 19th at 10:30 a.m. at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 3663 66th St. in Urbandale with burial at Glendale Cemetery. The church requires that masks be worn.

Jim was born March 18, 1943 in Des Moines, Iowa to Norma (Stanley) and Carl Murphy. He graduated from Dowling High School in 1961 and was active in both the football team and track and field. Most notably, he held the Iowa high school shot put record for several years after his graduation. His love for high school football lived on long after he graduated, as Friday nights in the Fall were reserved for watching Dowling or Valley football games. He especially enjoyed cheering on his sons from the stands.

After high school and a short stint in Los Angeles, he returned to Iowa and went on to work for John Deere as a cotton picker painter for 38-1/2 years. Jim loved working with his hands and had a garage full of tools to prove it. Much of his time away from work was spent building, fixing, or painting things. He enjoyed passing his craftsman skills down to his children by supervising their car repairs or home projects. Dad never met a job he wouldn’t attempt to do himself and was truly a Jack of all trades.

Dad loved traveling with family throughout his lifetime. Some of his fondest memories and most told stories were set outside of Iowa. He loved visiting Lake Tahoe for the famous Murphy Family reunions, taking in life while driving the crowded streets of Chicago, and enjoying a yearly pilgrimage to Milwaukee's Summerfest, the world's largest music festival. No road trip was complete until Dad enjoyed a stopover at a casino, or two. Dad was the only person to have never left a casino without at least being “up a little.”

Dad retired from John Deere in the early 2000s and stayed active through various hobbies during retirement: candle making, baking, grilling/cooking, gardening, refurbishing antique trunks, repairing cars, photography, and spending time with family. He also stayed active in his faith as a member of St. Pius and St. Ambrose, and enjoyed rooting on the Chicago Cubs, Kansas City Chiefs, Hawkeyes, and Cyclones. He also enjoyed catching up with old friends over coffee and cigarettes.

He was a member of Elks Lodge WDM #2752 and walked through the lodge’s doors every night at 8:30 pm, earning the nickname “Turbo” by the other Elks due to his slow walking pace. While he visited nightly, Jim was sure to leave the Elks lodge by 9:25pm so he could catch his favorite show, Hogan’s Heroes, at 9:30pm.

He most enjoyed spending time with his family. Dad was a devoted father to his seven sons, and a fun and loving “PJ” (Poppa Jim) to his 25 grandchildren. Nothing made dad smile more than being with family, and he let us all know it by the way he always made us laugh, even up until his final days.

He is survived by his sons, Kelly, Christopher, Peter, Matthew, Joseph and Sean Murphy; his brother, William “Bill” Murphy; 17 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren; his former spouse, Cara Murphy; and his loving black lab, Nina Murphy.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents; his siblings, Raymond Murphy, Marilyn Gitlin, Carla Faber, Norma “Sherry” Scalise, and Dianne Hensel; his son, Robert “Bob” Murphy; and his former spouse, Judy Byg.

Memorials may be directed to Elks Lodge #2752 or St. Pius X Catholic Church. Condolences may be expressed at

Service Details

Sunday, October 18, 2020
4:00 to 6:00 pm
Prayer Service at 5:30 p.m.
Hamilton's on Westown Parkway
3601 Westown Parkway
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
Monday, October 19, 2020
10:30 am
St. Pius X Catholic Church
3663 66th Street
Urbandale, Iowa 50322
Monday, October 19, 2020
1:30 pm
Burial of Cremated Remains
Glendale Cemetery
Des Moines, Iowa
Hamilton's on Westown Parkway
3601 Westown Parkway
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
(515) 224-0078

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