Community / Lifestyle Pittsburg native marks centennial birthday
Golden Murphy II remembers when Pittsburg was just a farm town.
The grandfather to Pittsburg-Camp County Chamber Vice President Golden Murphy IV, Murphy celebrated a milestone birthday on Monday – his 100th – at Southern Wind Manor.
The nursing home threw him a party. On Sunday, Father’s Day, his family gathered around him during a birthday lunch in honor of his centennial year. The Pittsburg native and World War II veteran was born June 18, 1918 and grew up working cattle and crops in Camp County’s early days.
“I don’t remember my Daddy. He died when I was a baby, and my mother raised me,” Murphy II recalled, taking a break to speak with The Gazette. “It was hard with two boys and two girls.”
He said he and his brother worked to help support the family, sacrificing going to school and only completing the 4th grade.
“I never did get an education. I just went to school when I could. Most of the time we worked all the time,” Murphy II said. “You’d go to work at 7 o’clock, and you might still be working at 7 o’clock that night. That’s why I wanted my children to get an education.”
Murphy II said he stayed at home to take care of his mother until he joined the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. He served in the 466th Bomber Group as an infantryman from 1942 to 1946 in Japan and the South Pacific, one of his strongest memories.
“One thing I think back on is I thank the good Lord for letting me go overseas and come back. I served in Okinawa and Guadalcanal,” he said. “I served my country, and I was looking to do some service when I came home. My health was still pretty good. Some of our boys came back in bad shape, but I was blessed.”
Returning to Pittsburg after the war, he worked for his brother-in-law doing embalming at the funeral home, he did carpentry work for area builders, general labor, and was a maintenance worker for a school district in Fort Stockton for 20 years until he retired.
A strong work ethic and education are two things he instilled in the next generation of Murphy’s that carry his name and legacy. Golden Murphy III, 69, followed in his father’s footsteps in that his mother died at an early age and he was the oldest, so the responsibility fell upon him.
He said his father’s 100-year milestone means a lot to the family.
“I’m proud of him, and I hope he’s proud of me, proud of all of us. The main thing is to be family and to be an anchor,” he said. “My minister said today that your father might be asleep in the room, but it’s good to know that he was there. If anything happened, you could always holler, ‘Daddy!’”
Of his father, Murphy III said, “Along the way, we’ve asked, ‘What would Daddy do?’ I know what he would do, and you just pick up the torch, and you keep going.”
The elder Murphy said, “It’s not what you say, it’s what you do. That’s what we live by.”