Family, friends and political colleagues remembered Rep. Quincy Murphy as a generous family man, tireless public servant, mentor and friend at funeral services Friday.
Murphy, who served in the state legislature for 11 years, died Aug. 2 after a battle with cancer. He was 60.
“Every time he walked into a room, Quincy was looking to make things better for everybody in that room,” said Mac Bowman, a cardiologist and longtime friend, to the packed Tabernacle Baptist Church sanctuary. Mourners included numerous state legislators and elected officials.
Murphy’s longtime business partner, Bob O’Neal, recalled meeting Murphy in February 1975 when both worked for the CSRA Business League, rubbing shoulders with the area’s black business leaders such as R.A. Dent, Henry Howard and Charles Reid.
The men were the “movers and shakers” who gave them confidence “that one day we’d be able to move forward,” O’Neal said.
Murphy, who was born in Atlanta but raised by his grandmother, Pearl Palmore, in Edgefield County, moved to Augusta after graduating from North Carolina A&T State University in 1974.
O’Neal and Murphy found jobs as Allstate Insurance agents initially housed at Sears, but in 1986 the partners were able to buy a Peach Orchard Road site where they opened their own agency, the O’Neal-Murphy Insurance Agency.
“We began to start our dream, to build the ideal agency,” O’Neal said. “What you see out there now is the result of a lot of hard work.”
Murphy’s son, Quin, said his father’s commitment to work and providing for his family meant he and his sister Jennifer sometimes didn’t see their father all week until Saturday morning.
“As we got older, we learned what he was doing. It was to provide for us,” said Murphy, now an agent at his father’s agency.
He said their father also instilled his deep faith in them.
“If we didn’t know God like the way our daddy had driven into us, we would be a mess right now,” he said.
As a friend of Murphy, Henry Ingram said he was heartbroken over his loss.
“I don’t know if there was a better person that has walked this Earth than Quincy Murphy,” said Ingram, the chairman of the Development Authority of Richmond County. “My heart is heavy because I lost somebody in the community that loved me.”
Rep. Gloria Frazier recalled how Murphy mentored her for four years after she was elected to the House.
“He showed me the ropes in Atlanta, showed me who to talk to, also showed me who not to talk to.”
Speaker of the Georgia House David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, also called Murphy “a great friend” who will be impossible to replace in the House.
“No one can work as hard as he did; no one can work with the cause, the work ethic that he put forth on behalf of this community and the people of Georgia,” Ralston said.
Ralston compared Murphy to his father.
“He believed that you should live so that people knew what you stood for ... that your deeds should define you and your works should be your legacy,” Ralston said. “It reminded me of Quincy. That’s what I think about with Quincy.”
U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta, quoted Winston Churchill in talking about Murphy, that the legislator’s death came “at the height of his career.”
Murphy was taken when “great issues were still commanding the whole of his interest,” Barrow said.
Lowell Greenbaum, the chairman of the Richmond County Democratic Party, said Murphy “worked valiantly in the state House of Representatives to protect against abuse his constituents in the Augusta community and the state of Georgia.”
But most of all, Murphy was a team player, said Rep. Wayne Howard, who served on the Augusta legislative delegation with him.
“He was never self-serving,” Howard said. “Of all the conversations that we had, Quincy never discussed or talked about doing something to serve himself. It was always about people.”