Cyril Murphy

Thursday, December 21, 2023 9:09 pm

Cyril Francis Murphy (Murf) was born on Jan. 27, 1931 to Cyril and Irene (Jochum) in Waukon, Iowa and died, Monday Dec. 11, 2023 in Edina, Minn.

He was raised in Lansing with two older brothers, Robert and Daniel, and two younger sisters, Mary and Rosanne. The family was involved in Dodge, John Deere and Chevrolet dealerships. Murf attended elementary and high school in Lansing. In school he played baseball and basketball for four years. He enrolled in Loras College in Dubuque for 2 ½ years. He then enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He spent 1 ½ years assigned to the Naval Air Station, Alameda, Calif. The following two years were spent on Kwajalein Island in the Marshall Islands. His specialty was flight hydraulic systems, and he was discharged as a 3rd class petty officer.

Following military service, he returned to Loras College where he earned a BA in Sociology. Though service separated him and his sweetheart, Peach (Shirley Weis from Decorah), for four years, they were married on Sept. 3, 1955 in Decorah.

Murf joined the Army Reserves and served for four years as a Captain. After completing his Masters in Social Work, he and Peach moved to Marshfield, Wis., where he started his career with Catholic Charities, and held many managerial roles throughout the state. Murf then went into the private sector as the Director of Wyalusing Academy in Prairie du Chien, Wis., serving, for eight years, inpatient adolescents with psychiatric problems. He was transferred to Winona, Minn., where he opened the Winona Academy.

His favorite job was in Bemidji, Minn., where he ran the Gilfillan Center, a residential treatment center, where he successfully expanded its program. While in Bemidji, he got his private pilots license and enjoyed flying a Cessna 414.

He loved God, his wife, children, friends, flying and golf (sometimes) in that order. Murf will always be remembered by his generosity and hospitality when visiting him. He received many awards and recognition for his work in social services, the most prestigious being March 4, 1993 – the declaration of Cyril Murphy Day in Minnesota by then Gov. Arne Carlson.

Murf is survived by five daughters, Mary Jo (Shawn) Werner, Jean Nielsen, Paula (Dave) Anderson, Jill (Clark) Norgaard and Barbara Castagna; 11 grandchildren; 10 great grandchildren; and a sister, Rosanne. He was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley (Peach), to whom he was married for 67 years; two brothers, Robert and Daniel (Anne), one sister, Mary, and one son-in-law, Steven Castagna.

There will be a visitation on Saturday, Dec. 30 at 10 a.m., followed by an 11 a.m. Mass at St. Edward’s Catholic Church, 9401 Nesbitt Ave S. Bloomington, Minn.
(livestream link:

The burial service is at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023, at Gethsemane Cemetery, 1928 Main Street, in the Iowa community of Lansing.

In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to Murf’s favorite charity, the Boys and Girls Club, 1600 Minnesota Ave NW, Bemidji, MN 56601.

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