Howell volunteer firefighter, part-time policeman remembered


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HOWELL – Police officers and firefighters are mourning the passing of Gerald L. Murphy, 74, who served as a volunteer firefighter in Howell and Farmingdale for more than 50 years.

Murphy, who was known as Jerry, died on Aug. 21. A funeral was held on Aug. 25 at the Clayton & McGirr Funeral Home, Freehold Township.

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Murphy was born and raised in Farmingdale. He was a member of the first graduating class at Southern Freehold Regional High School (later renamed Howell High School).

Murphy enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1965 and was a combat veteran of the Vietnam War (1967-68). His service included the Tet Offensive, during which he was promoted to sergeant.

Upon his return to the United States, he completed his military service at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. Murphy was honorably discharged in May 1969.

Murphy was a member of the Marine Corps League, Reynolds Detachment, of Freehold, and of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 9, Manalapan, for 50 years. He retired as a Master Plumber in 2002, according to his obituary.

He was an ex-chief and life member of the Squankum Fire Company, Howell. Murphy was a certified arson investigator for Howell. He served as president of the Fire District No. 1 Board of Fire Commissioners for more than 40 years.

Thomas Matthews, chaplain of the Squankum Fire Company, said, “Jerry Murphy defined brotherhood. He took time away from his family to constantly help his community. He spent over 50 years doing this faithfully.

“To quote his son, Michael, ‘He left the fire company and the fire district much better than he found it,’ referring to Jerry’s philosophy of always leaving things better than you found them.

“Jerry will be missed every day and we will strive to live up to his standards,” Matthews said.

Murphy volunteered as the assistant scoutmaster and scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 13, Farmingdale, from 1984-90.

He was a conservation officer for the state. Murphy attended the Monmouth County Police Academy in 1990, attaining certification as a special police officer Class II and joined the Howell Police Department. Due to his expert marksmanship, he became a member of the Howell SWAT unit, according to his obituary.

For several years he owned and operated G.L. Murphy & Son Contracting, Farmingdale.

The Howell Police Department mourned Murphy’s passing in a Facebook post. The police called it “a final goodbye to a great man” and said Murphy “was a very kind man who was respected by all.”

“Howell police officers were proud and honored to be part of his services. He was given police honors. We stood alongside our fire department brothers and escorted Jerry to his final place of rest. Jerry will be missed,” the police department wrote.

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