James "Jim" Harold Murphy

Saturday, January 17th, 1925 - Sunday, August 2nd, 2020
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Born to Levi and Ollie (Cooper) Murphy on January 17, 1925, James Harold Murphy was the youngest of ten children. He was raised on a 240-acre farm in Alanthus Grove, Missouri. His older brothers were instrumental in Harold’s life-long love of horses when they started him riding bareback as soon as he was able to sit up on a horse. Sustaining a farm during the “dirty 30’s” wasn’t easy and he had to quit school in the 11th grade to help the family put up molasses.

Harold was on a military deferment for farming, but he instead chose to move to Baltimore to work at Martin’s Aircraft to help with the World War II military effort. At the age of 17 he enlisted and was placed in the 71st Division, 2nd Platoon of the U S Army. Before his honorable discharge he helped liberate prisoners from the labor encampments in Austria.

After the war, he came to the Hood River Valley on his way to Alaska, but he got a job logging and stayed in Oregon. Early on he lived in a logging camp in Tillamook and worked in the Tillamook Burn using the old two-man cross-cut saws. When logging shut down for weather, he came back to Hood River to work the fruit industry where he met his future wife Fama at the Van Horn Packing Shed. They married in December of 1950, and five years later started a family of four girls.

When logging became too risky for a family man, he got started in excavating; eventually running his own business with Fama and occasional family members would help.

Family and work were of great importance to Harold, except during elk hunting season, when work often dropped from the list. When his five grandchildren came into his life, all activities, including hunting and fishing were planned around them.

Living next to West Side Fire Department, “Jim” began his 30-year volunteer career with his firefighting family in the 1950s and held a variety of positions including Captain. He retired his active status to become an “old timer” and rarely missed an opportunity to visit with the group. Jim still walked around the fire department grounds for exercise until about a month prior to his passing.

He was just 95 years young when he died on a Sunday morning, August 2nd, after suffering a head injury he sustained in an earlier fall.

James Harold was preceded in death by his parents; siblings; and his wife, Fama. He is survived by his four daughters; Cate (Randy) Schull, Deborah Swyers (Terry Draper), Michele (John) Beeman, and Peggy (Pat) Joseph. He was blessed with four grandsons, one granddaughter, and five great grandchildren, who will all sorely miss him.

A celebration of life will be postponed until one can be safely held at the West Side Fire Department. A private graveside service will be held for immediate family. Any donations can be made to the West Side Fire Department (C/O Anderson’s Tribute Center 1401 Belmont Ave. Hood River, OR 97031).

Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson's Tribute Center (Funerals • Receptions • Cremations) 1401 Belmont Avenue, Hood River, Oregon 97031. Visit to leave a note of condolence for the family.
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Service Details

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    Mt. View Cemetery
    1235 Tucker Rd
    HOOD RIVER, OR 97031
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    The graveside will be private.


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