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home : obituaries : obituaries May 31, 2020

4/27/2020 11:04:00 AM
John R. Murphy
November 17, 1931 - April 25, 2020
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"He wouldn't want anyone to be sad his life is over. He would want you to be glad that his life happened."

John "Jack" R. Murphy, former coach of the Taylorville Tornadoes basketball team, was born November 17, 1931 in Cornell, Illinois to Donald F. Murphy and Nettie Brougham (Walker) Murphy.

He passed away on April 25, 2020 at home in Pontiac, Illinois, surrounded by family.

He is preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Richard K. Murphy.

He is survived by his lifetime sweetheart, JoEllen (Barger), their children Jodi Murphy (Mark Harkrader), Jill Whitmar (Richard), Jon Murphy (Laurie) and grandchildren Molly, Lauren, Joseph and Matthew and two great-grandchildren, Jaxon and Roman.

Jack grew up in Cornell, Illinois where his family owned the Murphy Drug Store.

He served as infantry in Korea in Iron Triangle, Heartbreak Ridge, and the Punch Bowl, 1951-52. He then served with the 3rd Infantry "Old Guard", the Presidents Honor Guard and marched in President Eisenhower's Inauguration Parade as the lead unit in the four-hour parade.

He attended Illinois State University and graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Jack was a high school teacher and coach for over forty years. As a Varsity Basketball coach, he led his teams to nearly 600 victories.

Murphy was honored by induction into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, Taylorville High School Hall of Fame, Pontiac Township School Sports Hall of Fame, and the Bloomington-Normal Officials Hall of Fame.

He was president and founding member of The Livingston County War Museum and was a lifetime member of its staff.

He was also a life member of Pontiac VFW.

Jack was a member of the United Methodist Church of Pontiac and 2006 Pontiac Citizen of the Year.

A celebration of his life is anticipated in Pontiac, Illinois for late June and will be announced later.

Duffy-Baier-Snedecor Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be made to the family at or visit them on Facebook.

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