By MALUM NALU
Well-known Papua New Guinea rugby league administrator, Kevin Murphy, died of a massive heart attack in Orange, New South Wales, last Friday at age 63.
Murphy, who is known the length and breadth of this country for his passion for the “greatest game of all”, passed away at 7am in the home of an elder brother, Brian, who is a Catholic priest.
Murphy, a kiap (patrol officer) in the late 1960s who later moved into education, commerce and became president of the PNG Rugby Football League, reluctantly moved to Australia in 2008 because of diabetes and had his right leg amputated.
|Kevin Murphy minus his amputated right leg|
His first emergence from hospital was to attend a barbecue for his beloved PNG Kumuls, who had travelled to play a Cairns team, and till the day he died Murphy was always passionate about rugby league in PNG.
Murphy’s wife, Wendy, whom he married in 1972, died of cancer while he was recovering and he could not return to the land he called “home” and loved so much.
“For the last four years, he has lived in Tamworth,” Murphy’s second son, Daniel, told The National.
“He was always torn between two cultures: the PNG culture and the Australian culture.
“He always carried a bilum everywhere.
“He passed away in Orange on Friday morning, at about 7am, at the place of his brother, Brian Murphy, who is a Catholic priest.
“His last job was at Niugini Oil in Mt Hagen, but due to his health, he could not work again.
“He did some voluntary work at a youth centre here in Tamworth.
“For the last four years, he has been recovering with his family in Australia, as well as being emotionally attached to rugby league back in PNG.”
Murphy, of Irish origin, was born on May 10, 1949, came to PNG as a fresh-faced 18-year-old in 1967, and stayed here for the next 42 years.
After his stint as a kiap, Murphy was a primary school teacher in remote Henganofi and Kainantu areas of Eastern Highlands, Department of Provincial Affairs, National Sports Institute in Goroka as rugby league administrator, Rothmans, and Niugini Oil.
|Kevin Murphy in his role as a counselor for Transparency International before the 2007 national elections.|
He is survived by his three sons Adrian (39), Daniel (36), and Anthony (33).
Murphy is the last of five brothers – Patrick, John, Brian, Bill, and himself – and is the first to die.
His remains will be cremated and his funeral services held at St Joseph’s Catholic, Orange, NSW, at 2pm on Friday.