By Ray O’Hanlon
The death has taken place of Joe Murphy, a Cork native whose activism and varied career in the New York Irish community spanned decades.
Murphy, whose career included a number of years as a columnist and advertising director for the Irish Echo, was 88.
His passing was announced by the County Cork Association of which Murphy was a past president.
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In a release, the association stated: “The Officers and Members of the County Cork BP&P Association mourn the passing of our esteemed Past President, Joe Murphy.
“Joe was called to his eternal reward on Saturday, October 5, 2019 surrounded by his loving family at his home in Whitestone, NY after a long illness.
“Community activist and scribe, Joe was one of the elder statesmen of the County Cork Association and, indeed, of the entire Irish American Community.
“A native of Cullen, Co. Cork, the youngest of ten siblings, Joe was educated in the local national school, the “North Mon” in Cork City, and St. Augustine’s College, in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. He immigrated to the United States in 1956, first to California and then to New York City. He continued his academic pursuits at Long Beach State College and at New York City’s Fordham University.
“Joe first secured employment in the banking profession, working both for the Bank of America and the Bank of New York. In the 1970s, he took a position as advertising director with the Irish Echo newspaper, in New York, for which he already wrote a popular weekly column.
“Joe broadened his journalistic experience as the New York correspondent for the, then, Cork Examiner, and also for RTE. In that capacity he was proud to work as an analyst, with the late Michael O’Hehir, on the broadcasting of two National Football League finals from New York’s Gaelic Park.
“In 1987, Joe helped found the Irish Voice newspaper, and in the late 1990s he co-founded Irish Connections magazine. He also wrote a weekly column in the NYC Irish community newspaper, Home and Away.
“No history of the Irish American Fourth Estate would be complete without a chapter on the Cullen man. Fittingly, in the early 1980s, the Kerrymen’s Association of NY honored him for his contribution to Irish American journalism.
“Joe did not confine his abilities to the sideline. On the GAA pitch he was a skilled athlete with the big ball. In the 1950s, he won a County Waterford Minor Football Championship medal with St. Augustine’s College. He also won two West Cork Football Championship medals, while attending Darrara Agricultural College in Clonakilty. In New York, Joe was active, both on and off the field, with the Cork Football Club, serving both as Club Secretary and as President. He also employed his administrative talents in the service of the New York GAA, as secretary and banquet chairman.
“Joe was a dedicated member of the Co. Cork Association for 42 years and served as President (1981-84). In 1984, the centenary year of the County Cork Association, he led the organization in an emotional and historic visit to Ireland.
“Also in that year, together with Rebel stalwarts, he moved the organization to its present home in Long Island City. In 1983, under Joe’s leadership, the organization also accepted women as full members.
“In 1987, Joe, with other members of the Association, was an essential player in the foundation of the IIRM, which went on to secure thousands of visas for Irish immigrants. He also served as the Vice Chairman of the Korean War Irish Memorial Committee, in its long, and eventually, successful campaign to obtain posthumous U.S. citizenship for those Irish immigrant servicemen who made the ultimate sacrifice in that conflict.
“Joe’s contribution as a community activist was recognized by many organizations, including New York’s Young Ireland Camogie Club, The Rebel Cork Association of San Francisco, New York, Millstreet Football Club, and the Cork GAA Board. He was also named in Irish America “Who’s Who.”
“Joe met his wife, the former Judy O’Connor from Ballygar, Co. Galway, at a dance at the Red Mill Ballroom and they were married at the Cathedral in Galway in 1975. They resided in Whitestone, NYC.
“We are grateful for Joe’s friendship and leadership in our Association and in the Irish American Community. We extend our condolences to his wife Judy and his many nieces and nephews who share in Joe’s loss, but joyful in his reunion with his departed siblings – Nellie, Bridie, Sr. Paul, Violet, Jimmy, Matt, John, Fr. Denis and Paddy.
“Tá leaba aige i measc na Bfhinni – He rests among the Fenians.”
The statement was signed by County Cork BP&P Association President Gary Power and past president Denis McCarthy.
Funeral details are: Visitation: Friday, October 11, 2-5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at Gleason’s Funeral Home, 10-25 150th St., Whitestone, Queens.
Mass of Christian Burial will be on Saturday, October 12, at 9:45 a.m. at Holy Trinity Church, 14-51 143rd St., Whitestone.
Interment will be at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Flushing. The County Cork Association members will assemble at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.