Bob Murphy 1948–2020

Dear Beacon Historical Society Friends:

It is with great sadness that we share the news that Robert (Bob) J. Murphy passed away on July 10, 2020. Bob held a lifelong interest and dedication to preserving and promoting the history of Beacon. His inimitable writing style captured the spirit of the times.

We all enjoyed and looked forward to receiving Bob’s newsletters, attending his interesting lectures, and conversing with him on history. Bob was everywhere: marching in a parade, cleaning a memorial at the VFW, or giving a tour at the local cemetery… always at the ready with a story and a connection.  Many of you had the pleasure of calling Bob a friend. Bob’s keen mind and sense of humor will surely be missed.

Here is his obituary, beautifully written by his sister Diane Murphy, and long-time BHS Secretary.

Bob Murphy 1948 2020

Robert J. Murphy, son of the late Robert W. Murphy and Elizabeth Murphy, passed away after a courageous fight with cancer on July 10, 2020. Bob leaves behind five sisters, Barbara O’Leary, Beacon, Linda Murphy, Tivoli, Kathleen Zimmer, Queensbury, Maureen McInnis, South Glens Falls and Diane Murphy, Beacon. He was a wonderful uncle to fourteen nieces and nephews and all their children.

A 1966 graduate of Beacon High School who earned his bachelor’s degree from Manhattan College and his Master’s Degree from the State University of New York at Albany, Bob served as president of the Beacon Historical Society (BHS) for 20 years (1998 – 2018). He wrote the popular BHS monthly newsletter for 38 years and co-authored two books, Historic Beacon and Beacon Revisited. He was working on his third book at the time of his death. He prepared dozens of presentations and contributed numerous articles about Beacon history throughout the decades. Bob was the recipient of the Dutchess County Historical Society’s prestigious “Dutchess Award,” recognizing his exceptional contributions as a local historian. In 2019 he was honored at the Beacon Historical Society’s Third Annual Beacons of History Awards.

He was an avid reader, writer, bread baker, photographer, gardener and woodworker. In his younger years, Bob was a talented baseball player and skater, who loved playing hockey beside his nephews. For the past 38 years, he and his sister, Diane, enjoyed daily walks and hikes to Mt. Beacon, Denning’s Point and other points around Beacon. He taught himself to develop negatives and made thousands of prints for the BHS archives.

A prolific gardener, he took pride in his tomato patch and more so in sharing his crop with friends and family. He was a self-taught carpenter and his benches, bookshelves and birds are scattered throughout the Valley. More recently, Bob’s carving resulted in a series of creative birds which he took pleasure in crafting and sharing.

Bob and his great sense of humor and gentle, quiet ways will be greatly missed by his family, friends and community.

Memorial donations in his honor may be made to the Beacon Historical Society, PO Box 89, Beacon, NY 12508 or to St. Joachim – St. John the Evangelist Church, 2 Oak Street, Beacon, NY 12508.

A private Mass of Christian Burial followed by burial at St. Joachim Cemetery in Beacon will be held. A memorial service is planned for the future.

To send a personal condolence please visit

Funeral arrangements are under the care of Patrick J. Halvey of Riverview Funeral Home by Halvey, LLC.