Memorial for the Rev. Fred Murphy
July 25, 2009
Christopher Douglas Murphy was born on July 23, 1927, in Buncombe County, North Carolina, to the late Claude Vincent and Dorcas Moore Ingle Murphy. He was one of eight children. It was his grandmother who insisted on calling him Fred and everyone followed her lead. His family soon relocated to Gaston County and there he grew to manhood. As a young man, he attended Goshen Presbyterian Church in Belmont and after a time he came to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior. He graduated from Belmont High School in 1944 then served in the United States Navy. He graduated from Belmont Abbey Junior College in 1947 and soon after sensed God calling him to the ministry. He and his family were active in starting and organizing the Westview Presbyterian Church which was planted by the nearby Goshen Church. He graduated from Davidson College in 1955 and Columbia Theological Seminary in 1958.
On June 14, 1958, Fred married Anne McKelvie, who would be his faithful and loving wife for forty-three years. God blessed them with five children: Ruth Anne, Mary, David, Martha and Rebecca. Just a month after his wedding, Fred was ordained to the Gospel ministry by the Abingdon Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in the United States in southwest Virginia. There he pastored two churches then served as superintendent of a children’s home.
In 1960 he became the Pastor of the East Belmont Presbyterian Church in Belmont, North Carolina, where he labored until 1963. He then pastored the Central Steele Creek Church in Charlotte from 1963 to 1966. From 1966 to 1970 he served another two-church field in Lancaster, South Carolina, after which God called him to full-time evangelistic work with the Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship. For two years he traveled extensively preaching the Gospel he loved so dearly. In 1972 he accepted a call to the Hazelwood Presbyterian Church in Hazelwood, North Carolina, where he valiantly stood for the truth and labored with others to form what would become the Presbyterian Church in America. He was a member of the historic Vanguard Presbytery and his was among the first congregations in North Carolina to withdraw from the spiritually wayward Southern Presbyterian Church.
In 1978, Pastor Murphy returned home to Gaston County when he accepted a call to the Westview Presbyterian Church where he served until honorably retired in 1992. In the goodness of God, his ministry continued to flourish in retirement as he served on the pastoral staff of First Presbyterian Church of Stanley until 2005, visiting, encouraging, and preaching God’s Word. It was during this time that his beloved wife Anne preceded him into glory, but God soon graciously provided him another help-meet in Louise. He loved and cared for his family very deeply.
Throughout his life, even in boyhood, Fred Murphy was humble and thoughtful. His ministry was characterized by his faithful exposition of the Scriptures and his very personal pastoral care to church members and the community at large. He gave selflessly to provide for the less fortunate and was often seen carrying groceries to the doorsteps of needy families. He was a friend to the elderly and to children alike and led people of all ages to faith in Christ.
In addition to being gifted spiritually, he was a talented composer and musician and together with his brothers, played and recorded songs and performed live on stage and on the radio. In retirement he published his lyrics and other poetry along with sermons in the hope of reaching even more people with the message of God’s love in Christ.
To his earthly end, Teaching Elder Fred Murphy remained faithful and steadfast abounding in the work of the Lord even during a long and difficult illness when he was still generously encouraging and giving to others. He continually witnessed to everyone expressing the joy and contentment that was his in Christ his hope of glory. He fought the good fight. He finished the course. He kept the faith.
He did not ask that men would throng the temple,
Approved this day, July 25th, in the year of our Lord 2009.
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