Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Father William F. Murphy

Father William F. Murphy was appointed Pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Church on September 5, 1905, the second priest to serve this parish. He succeeded Father R.A. Sidley. Father Murphy oversaw the building of a school for the parish, partially funded by a bequest from Father Sidley. The new school and Sidley Memorial Hall was dedicated in 1907. Following two fires which damaged Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Father Murphy led the parish in seeing that the church was repaired and restored. With the help of a generous gift from Sandusky native Sister Mary Aloysius, the church installed a communion railing made from Italian marble, and two new side altars.

During his thirty-eight years at Sts. Peter and Paul, Father Murphy officiated at hundreds of weddings, baptisms, funerals, and sacred holiday masses. On July 14, 1915, Father Murphy officiated at the wedding of Notre Dame legendary coach Knute Rockne to Bonnie Skiles. The pair had met while they were employed at Cedar Point.

On the occasion of Rev. William F. Murphy’s Golden Jubilee, in which he celebrated fifty years in the priesthood, the whole community gathered to honor him. A mass was held at Sts. Peter and Paul Church on July 4, 1934, with the Most Reverend Kal J. Alter, D.D. presiding.

Catholic leaders all across Ohio attended the Golden Jubilee celebration. On July 5, 1934, a civic reception for Father Murphy was held at Jackson Junior High, and was open to the public. Speakers included Judge Edmond Savord, Mr. J. J. Carroll, president of the G & C Foundry, Congressman W. L. Fiesinger, Attorney John F. McCrystal, Sr., Mr. F. J. Prout, Superintendent of Sandusky Schools, Major C.B. Wilcox, President of the Sandusky Chamber of Commerce, as well as Rev. William Zierolf from St. Mary’s Church and Rev. Thomas Hughes from Trinity Methodist Church. Father Murphy was respected as a community leader by residents of all walks of life and religious denominations. 

On February 24, 1942, Father William F. Murphy died at the age of 84. Sandusky City Manager A.J. Lauber  stated  in an article in the February 24, 1942 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News that, “The death of Monsignor William F. Murphy is a severe loss to our community. He was always eager to give his time and energy to those things which make for a better city in which to live and work. His kindly spirit, his wise counsel and his marvelous personality has endeared him to every person in Sandusky.” Father Murphy’s funeral was widely attended, and he was buried at St. John’s Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Father William F. Murphy saw his congregation through the Great Depression, World War I, and the early years of World War II. His leadership, integrity and compassion were appreciated by  his church members and the entire community.

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