Joseph G. Murphy of Shelter Island died at home surrounded by his family on Sunday morning, Nov. 10, 2019, after a two year struggle with salivary melanoma. He was 92 years old. He was honored the next day (Veterans Day) at Legion Hall with the flag lowered to half-staff. He was the oldest living WW II veteran on Shelter Island at the time of his passing.
Joseph was born on March 28, 1927 in the Bronx to Bridget (nee Curran) and Joseph B. Murphy. After schooling, he joined the U.S. Navy Seabees at the age of 17 where he saw action in Okinawa and China during WW II.
After his service in the military he met the love of his life, Hilda Schutter, at a church dance in the Bronx, where they had grown up. They dated for four years while Joseph attended Hunter College on the G.I. Bill. After their marriage, they had six children and raised them in Bayside, N.Y. Hilda was friends with the past owner of Bohack (now IGA), and through that friendship, Joseph and Hilda became involved in Shelter Island. They fell in love with the Island in 1960 and built a home in Silver Beach in 1961. The two of them had been coming to the Island for the past 60 years and moved to Shelter Island permanently in 2004.
Joseph worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield for 42 years, retiring as the director of National Sales.
Predeceased by his beloved wife of 61 years, Hilda, and his granddaughter Kirstin Zabel, Joseph is survived by his children Christopher, David, Matthew, Claudia, Stephen and Paul; grandchildren Brendan, Miles, Joseph II, Blaize, Elliot and Erin; and great-grandsons Odin and Lukas.
There will be a private family ceremony of spreading Joseph’s and Hilda’s ashes. This will be followed by a celebration of their lives at the American Legion Mitchell Post 281 on Shelter Island on Saturday, Dec. 7th from 1 to 4 P.M where all are welcome to attend.