Colonel Walter Henry Murphy, U.S. Army, Retired, of Griffin, Georgia, died peacefully on September 6, 2021. He was born on June 7, 1933, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was raised in Lawton, Oklahoma. He went on to attend the University of Oklahoma and earned a B.A in English, graduating as a Distinguished Military Graduate. It was at OU where he met his future wife, Mary. Upon graduation, he received his commission into the United States Army and was stationed in Germany. He was assigned to the 42nd Field Artillery Battalion and then to the 67th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, serving for several years during the Cold War including on the border during the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. He later served in numerous leadership and command positions in the Adjutant General Corps.
Upon returning to the United States, Walter again attended the University of Oklahoma and earned a Master of Library Science and went on to attend Emory University where he received a Diploma for Advanced Studies in Library Science. His early library work progressed from Oklahoma, to Missouri, to Lakeland, Florida, where he served as City Librarian and helped establish a Library Science program at Florida Southern College. He ultimately settled his family in Griffin, Georgia where he served as Executive Director of the Flint River Regional Library System from 1966 until his retirement in 2010. As a state library building consultant, he was instrumental in the construction of new libraries in Forsyth, Jackson, Barnesville, Zebulon, Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Griffin and Tyrone, as well as library buildings in Clayton County and Henry County.
Walter had the honor of serving as a member of former Senator Sam Nunn’s Selection Committee for students to attend U.S. Service Academies and as a Liaison Officer for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Walter retired from the US Army Reserves in 1987 with the rank of Colonel. It was at this time that he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.
Walter was an avid reader and a sports enthusiast, especially when rooting for the Oklahoma Sooners and the Atlanta Braves. He volunteered countless hours over the years with Spalding County’s youth sports programs.
Walter was preceded in death by his daughter, Kathleen Murphy Terrell (Mark, d.) and wife, Mary Rule Murphy.
Walter is survived by his sister, Pauline Sarkany and his four children, Charles Landon Murphy (Elizabeth); Melinda Murphy Dollar (Cary, d.); Thomas Edward Murphy (Georgia); and Michael Walter Murphy (Sally); nine grandchildren, Mark Lindsey Terrell (Macey Kilgore); David Landon Murphy; Paul Gibson Murphy (Leslie); Joseph Cary Dollar (Beth); Eric Jerome Dollar (Jessica); Caitlin Elizabeth Murphy (Lucas Hernandez); Alexander Edward Murphy; Meghan Eileen Murphy; and Landon Patrick Murphy; and three great grandchildren, Gambler Cary Dollar; Benji Owen Dollar; and Cash Grant Dollar.
Services will be held at a later date at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Griffin. Details will be forthcoming. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: St. George’s Episcopal Church, 132 North 10th Street, Griffin, GA 30223.
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