Sample Obituary 2

Richard Murphy left his earthly body on ___________________ at the age of ___. He was the son of George and Bette Smith Murphy, who had returned to New Orleans after World War II with a desire to start a family. When Bette had trouble getting pregnant, she prayed to St. Jude and shortly conceived the embryo that would in November 1946 emerge into the world as Richard. Bette always said she prayed to the Patron Saint of Impossible Cases and got one. 

Richard was a seeker from a young age.  At thirteen, he left home and spent two years in a Benedictine monastery studying for the priesthood. Then, while in law school, he became a devotee of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who personally trained him to teach Transcendental Meditation. Richard taught many people TM and he remained a devoted follower of Maharishi and TM practitioner until his death.

During law school, Richard was appointed LSU’s first Ombudsman, a position he held for two years during which he was at the forefront of many exciting and controversial causes on behalf of student rights. When he graduated in 1971, he was met with the usual parental questions of the era: “When are you going to get your haircut” and “Why don’t you have a job.” Rather than going to work for a fat cat law firm, Richard joined VISTA—Volunteers in Service to America—the domestic version of the Peace Corp. In VISTA, he organized a food cooperative, aptly called “The Food Conspiracy,” to provide food to the poor at below grocery store prices. 

In 1973, while living in Spain, Richard was asked to become legal counsel for the Louisiana Department of Corrections. Eight years later, Louisiana elected its first Republican governor and Richard was shown the door. But, he used his knowledge and contacts to become nationally known in corrections, sentencing and post conviction law. His practice was quite unusual. He had numerous famous and infamous clients on the wrong side of the bars, including James Brown, the Godfather of Soul; Vincent “the Chin” Gigante, a Mafia godfather; Edwin Edwards, four term Louisiana governor; and Fate Thomas, long-time Nashville sheriff.  On the other hand, he was general counsel to Corrections Corporation of America and, later served on the Board of Directors of Cornell Companies. 

Richard suffered more than his share of physical and mental pain, but mostly handled it stoically by reminding himself that the more bad karma he worked out in this life, the less he would face in the next. He also focused on his good fortune, especially that which brought his wife Eileen into his life. He often said that he could never have found a more loving and compatible woman. Likewise, his son Mark and grandson Alex taught him more than they ever learned from him.

Richard was certainly known for his quick temper, but was admired for his lifelong efforts to deal with it and his readiness to make amends. He also had a great sense of humor and, believing in reincarnation, he advised friends that the first really cute baby they saw after his death would be him.

For many years, Richard said he wanted his epitaph to read: “He only wanted to be understood.” But, late in life he said, “I spent the first two-thirds of my life wanting to be understood and the last one-third not caring if I was. I highly recommend the latter.” 

If you are moved to remember Richard in some monetary way, please consider a donation to St. Joseph Abbey, St. Benedict, LA 70457.

Memorial details: ___________________________________________________