Helping Families and Friends Honor Their Loved One
James Murphy

James Murphy

James “Turk” Murphy passed away peacefully on April 20, 2022, with his sons Jim and Kevin at his side. He was born in Dunkirk, NY on January 24, 1928, to John William and Madelyn (O’Brien) Murphy.

Turk graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Dunkirk in 1946. He was a gifted basketball player in high school and enjoyed playing Dunkirk City League basketball for several years after graduating. He was employed at the Niagara Mohawk Dunkirk Steam Station for 39 years, retiring as a Chief Shift Operator in 1989.

Turk joined the Pioneer Hook & Ladder Company #1 in 1947 and was an active volunteer fireman for over 70 years. He founded the Dunkirk Volunteer Fire Department’s Emergency Squad in May of 1954 and served as its first and only Captain for 55 years. He was one of the first Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) in New York State when he completed his training in Buffalo in 1967. Back then, they were called Medical Emergency Technicians and his state certification number was 00130. He responded to countless fire and emergency calls in Dunkirk and the surrounding area. He also worked part-time for several local ambulance services in the 1950s, 60’s and 70’s.

Turk was one of the first scuba divers in Western New York when he started diving in the mid 1950’s. Numerous Chautauqua County police and fire agencies called upon him to recover drowning victims in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s in Lake Erie, Cassadaga Lake, Chautauqua Lake and unnamed ponds before there were organized police and fire department underwater recovery teams. He was also hired by the City of Dunkirk several times in the 1960’s and 70’s to perform underwater inspections of the city’s water intake in Lake Erie.

Turk was a representative along with Jack Ebert from the Pioneer Hook & Ladder Company #1 to be on the committee to plan and construct the Dunkirk Volunteer Firemen’s Training Grounds in 1955. This training facility was renamed the James “Turk” Murphy Fire Training Grounds in 2004. He volunteered countless hours maintaining the grounds and cutting the grass there until the fall of 2018.

Turk and his wife Margalo made 24 trips to Ireland and visited every county in that country after he retired from Niagara Mohawk. Their son Kevin accompanied them on 15 of those trips. Turk was one of the founders of the Dunkirk Irish Society that was active in the 1980’s and 1990’s when they held legendary summer picnics, St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas parties.

Turk and Margalo were huge Buffalo Bills fans and were season ticket holders for 15 years after Turk retired from Niagara Mohawk. They would always arrive at the stadium parking lot #4 by 9:00 AM on game days. They were late meeting up with their tailgate friends one Sunday because Turk stopped and delivered a baby in the back seat of a car when they happened to come upon on a woman in labor on the way to the game.

Besides his parents, Turk was predeceased by his wife of 63 years Margalo (Merkt); son Sean (Jody) and brother John William, Jr. Turk is survived by his children James II (Gayle); Kevin and brother Dr. Joseph Brien Murphy (Ann). He is also survived by grandchildren James III (Audrey-deceased); Colleen (Tyler); Sean; Shane and great-grandchildren Lola; Finn; Connor and Tess.

Turk’s family offers special thanks to the staff at Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care, especially Tammy Logsdon, Jen Slaven, Phil Lawrie and Shannon Cole for their help and support. The family also would like to thank the staff of floor 2B at the Chautauqua Nursing and Rehabilitation facility.

Per Turk’s request, private funeral services will be held at the convenience of the family. There will be no calling hours. Arrangements are by the McGraw-Kowal Funeral Home.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Style switcher RESET
Body styles
Color scheme
Color settings
Link color
Menu color
User color
Background pattern
Background image