Herbert Murphy

Doer of deeds, jack-of-all-trades, singer of songs, dreamer of dreams, teller of tales, entrepreneur, craftsman, mentor, counselor, poet, a gentle heart, a Renaissance man… 


Herb Murphy, 76, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather went to be with the Lord on Tuesday, November 5th, 2013 after a long Herb Murphybattle with Lewy body disease. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Corrine; his five children John (Sherry), Dan (Jill), Anne, and Nathan (Laura) Murphy and Fayth (John) Brennan; his brothers David (Judy) and Bob (Elaine); his sister Nancy (Larry) Baldwin; his grandchildren Ben, Nikki, Jake, Josh, Erin, Justin, Isaac, Caleb, Julia, Anna Kate, Malachi, Stefan, Levi, Naomi and Annali, as well as Chris Murphy (mother of Josh, Erin and Justin), and 10 great-grandchildren.

Herb died in the comfort of his home surrounded by his loved ones and was buried in a pine casket handcrafted by his son, Nathan. The attached wooden cross was made by John Baker, his very good friend.

Herb was born in Two Harbors, Minnesota on December 6th, 1936. At the time of his death he lived near Zimmerman, Minnesota. His incredible life can only be abbreviated here. A lifelong pursuer of education, he was valedictorian of his class at North Central Bible College, obtained a bachelor of arts degree at Bethel College, acquired a master of science degree from St. Cloud State College and, in 1976, earned a doctor of education degree from the University of Minnesota. He taught senior English and was a student counselor at Foley High School and for 22 years served as Student Services Director at Anoka Technical College. He also served as a board member at Church of the Open Door, as chairperson of the Ramsey Town Board (helping Ramsey to become designated a city), and for over 20 years on the Baldwin Town Board. After retiring from ATC, he started an antique business and a construction business, worked as a business consultant and published two books, Historical Sketches from Baldwin Township and They Called Her Maria for the Sherburne History Center.

Herb told entertaining life stories full of adventure and wit. He played the guitar, the harmonica and a little piano. He sang Christian, country and folk songs at home, at church and, in his early years, in bands. In high school and college he played basketball and ran track and field. He had leading roles in school plays and was the photographer for the school newspaper and yearbook. Along the way he was a forest tower ranger, flew airplanes, crafted wooden toys and furniture, planted thousands of trees, kept bees, taught Sunday school and, with his family’s help, owned and operated a health food –  cheese – gift shop and ran a hobby farm with hay and corn harvests and a zoo of animals. Together with his wife, Corrine, he sojourned far and wide to such places as Alaska, Oregon, Germany, Ireland, England and Denmark to visit their roving daughter, Anne, or to trace family roots. Twice they accompanied pilgrim tours to Israel to follow his dream to walk in the steps of Jesus.

Herb’s desire to help was the leitmotif of his life. He dedicated much of his time to teaching, counseling, and mentoring others both professionally and as a volunteer. He supported charities and missionaries, relations and friends with his time, abilities and finances. Herb was a great man of faith whose expressed fervent desire was to follow the example of Christ. In this he claimed Victory.

My prayers have all been answered/I’ve finally arrived/The healing that had been delayed/Is now realized/No one’s in a hurry/There’s no schedule to keep/I’m now enjoying Jesus/Just sitting at His feet”   

“If You Could See Me Now” by Don Moen

     With his loving heart, his many talents and his hard, hard working hands, he cared for us well and touched many lives. His legacy lives on, but we shall miss him so very much.


A memorial service was held at Central Lutheran Church in Elk River on Friday, November 9th, 2013.

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