Robert Eugene Murphy died June 22, 2023 at the Stafford County Hospital, Stafford, KS at the age of 90.
Robert was the 9th child born to Rufus and Gertie Mae Riley on April 26, 1933 in Geneseo KS. After the death of his mother in 1940, he was adopted by James Lester and Mary Alice Murphy, as their only child, on May 17, 1941 in Ulysses, KS. Robert grew up on the family farm and attended the Shockey Country School and Ulysses High School.
On July 17, 1955 he married Janet Ann Farthing, daughter of Harold and Mildred Farthing of Ulysses. They made their first home in a small trailer on the family farmstead northwest of Ulysses. As Janet finished high school, Robert served in the U.S. Navy on a minesweeper, bound for Japan, from 1955-1957.
Robert earned his pilot’s license in the early 1950’s that led to a lifelong career in aviation. Robert worked at Farthing Spray Service, Ansel Mfg and Dowell until the opportunity to become a spray pilot introduced him to a 30 year career and business as Murphy Aviation Inc, retiring in 1997.
Robert and Janet enjoyed building go-karts and jalopies in the early 1950’s to race on a track located north of the current Grant Co Fairgrounds. Touring Colorado mountain trails on motorcycles, ATV’s and jeeps were a family favorite activity in addition to riding with the Gold Wing Touring Assoc group out of Garden City and Dodge City. Model railroading became a hobby later in life, where creating landscapes for his train collection marveled those who visited the “train room” at the hangar in Ulysses. Camping, fishing, and hunting activities were also included as time allowed.
Robert was in 4-H as a child and served with his wife as leaders of the Bearcreek Boosters 4-H club. He was a member of the Grant Co Fire Dept, serving as chief for a short time. Robert served as President of the Kansas Agricultural Aviation Assoc and as a member of the executive board of the National Agricultural Aviation Assoc. He was also a member of the Experimental Aircraft Assoc and the Harley Owners Group.
Robert is survived by his wife of almost 68 years; his two daughters and their spouses; Tamra Sue (Steve) Brensing of Stafford, KS and Linda Gail (Ron) Neher of Burlington, KS; four grandchildren and their spouses: Cody (Amy) Heckman, Burlingame, KS; Trudy (Robert) Moore, Lavaca, AR; Holly (Derrick) Ferguson, Stafford, KS; and Brad (Emily) Brensing, Olathe, KS: nine great grandchildren –Jonathon Heckman, Matthew Heckman, Colby Heckman, Dakota Moore, Kaiyah Moore, Rylee Ferguson, Reagan Ferguson, Jack Robert Brensing, and Lucas Brensing; and two step great grandchildren– Haley Moore and Ryan Moore, sister-in-law: Marilyn Buchele (Ken) of Emporia and many other family members.
Robert was preceded in death by his natural and adoptive parents, and siblings: Oletha, Wanita, Lucille, Lorraine, Fern, Raymon, Norman, and Dennis Riley and other family members.
Celebration of Life will be 2:00 p.m. at Minnis Chapel, 125 N Main, Stafford, Ks on Tuesday, June 27, 2023 followed by a visitation. Graveside services will be held at the Ulysses Cemetery, Ulysses, Kansas on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 at 11:00 a.m.
Memorials may be sent to the Stafford County Health Foundation c/o Minnis Chapel, Stafford, KS.