EYES moist with grief, Greg Murphy glanced at his late father’s coffin and asked rhetorically: “How do you eulogise the great eulogiser?”
What followed was a personal and moving tribute to Norm Murphy’s extraordinary life, played out to a packed St Alban’s Cathedral and the dozens of mourners who spilled outside.
Mr Murphy, one of Griffith’s most-cherished community figures, passed away last Thursday at age 85, but his legacy shone like a beacon at his final farewell on Wednesday – the legacy of words.
“It’s a legacy we need to pass on because it’s a very true legacy,” his nephew Denis Couch said.
“Words drove Norm’s life; it was words that defined the man and words we will remember. Norm used words like a currency – he dispensed them passionately or in a salvo.
“He was the great orator, the great raconteur, and the stories he could impart have linked us all together.”
The service heard Mr Murphy was not just a man of words, but a man of action.
A former Griffith Citizen of the Year and OAM recipient, Mr Murphy’s charm and unerring moral compass saw him dedicate much of his life to Rotary, the Salvation Army, the Griffith Heart Support Group and his beloved MTN-9.
His son Greg said at the core of his community service was a love of people.
“His drug of choice was people and he never overdosed on it,” Mr Murphy said.
“He had to take a six-pack and a cut lunch to walk down the street and it would take him hours to fill the trolley at Rossies.
“He was the consummate communicator who had an amazing ability to strike up a conversation with anyone.
“He could relate to all age groups and the love he exuded came back in spades.”
Earlier, Mr Murphy’s youngest graddaughter – Lucy Murphy – shared memories of her “pa”.
“Everyone in town knew my pa,” Lucy said. “Goodbye Pa, we all love you.”
His close friend Mick Plos, who met Mr Murphy at Hanwood Public School in the late 1930s, described him as a “true gentleman” with a magnetic personality.
“It can truly be said that he was one of the finest people I’ve ever had the privilege to meet,” Mr Plos said.