Skip to content

Donate in Memory of Thomas Murphy, Jr.

Click the button below to make a donation in memory of Thomas Murphy, Jr.:

Obituary: Thomas Murphy, Jr.

Published September, 2017

Thomas F. Murphy Jr. of Wellesley Hills and Chatham, MA passed away peacefully at home on September 5th surrounded by his family after a brave fight against ALS.

Born in Worcester, MA, Tom was the son of Thomas F. Murphy and Elizabeth Price Murphy. He was a graduate of Saint John’s rep in Shrewsbury, MA; The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA; Boston College Law School in Boston, MA. He also held a Master of Marine Affairs Degree from University of Rhode Island in Kingston, RI. He was a loving father, a well-established and well-traveled Mariner, a Coast Guard Veteran, and a believer in the magic that is found in the seaside village of Chatham, MA.

Tom, better known to many as “The Captain” led a life that many could only dream of. After graduating from Holy Cross, where after reading Homer’s Odyssey he decided to take sailing classes on Lake Quinsigamond. This led to a 14-year career with the U. S. Coast Guard during which he found himself sailing the high seas as a Lt. Commander on the USCGC Eagle as well as serving as a Deck Officer on several CG cutters throughout New England, as a law instructor at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and as a District Legal Staff Officer in Boston.
Tom subsequently worked for the Maritime Tort Division of the Justice Department in New York and then in private practice as a maritime attorney in the greater Boston area. As a Captain, Tom also piloted many of the passenger ships seen traveling in and out of Boston Harbor. One of Tom’s most notable accomplishments was his induction into The Order of Neptune as a crosser of the equator as a member of a maritime crew. He had many passions in life including the love he had for his family and friends, trains, planes, and ships, but he always, no matter the passion, went back to the sea. Even after his travels took him north to the Adirondack Mountains where his daughter Caroline was at school at St. Lawrence University, Tom always came back to the sea and over the years, Chatham became his home. Tom was fortunate enough to make a career dream come true when he spent the summer of 2016 as an Assistant Harbor Master for the Town of Chatham. He appreciated the opportunity to give back to a place and a sea he loved.

Tom is survived by his beloved wife of 37 years, Mary Anne Johnston, and his children, Brendan and Caroline, all of Wellesley and Chatham, MA, as well as by his brother in-law Thomas F. Johnston and his wife Patricia of Flushing, NY. While a small family, there are many who will mourn the loss of a great friend, father, and captain.

The family would like to thank Sabrina Paganoni, MD, PhD and her staff in the Neurology Department at Mass General Hospital in Boston, and the ALS specialty staff at the VA Boston Healthcare System for their support and encouragement over the last year. The family would also like to thank the Visiting Nurse Association of Cape Cod for their careful care and support in recent months, as well as the many friends who have offered their support and love over the last year.

Family and friends are invited to attend Funeral Services that will be held at Holy Redeemer Church at 57 Highland Ave, Chatham, MA on Saturday September 9th at 10 a.m. A reception will follow. The burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Tom’s memory to Compassionate Care ALS. For online condolences please visit