Longtime Holy Cross Church pastor dies


INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Father Richard Murphy, a longtime pastor for Holy Cross Catholic Church in Vero Beach, died Sunday, officials said.

Murphy was 80 years old, according to Strunk Funeral Homes & Crematory. He died at Hospice House of Indian River County, according to the Holy Cross Catholic Church website.

Murphy was the pastor of Holy Cross for nearly 23 years, the church’s parish administrator and Murphy’s friend Debbie True said.

“I will miss everything about him. He was such a fantastic leader,” said True, who worked with Murphy. “He cared about the parishioners and they cared about him. He believed we needed to reach out to people in the community whenever there was a need.”

True, who later became Murphy’s caregiver, said Murphy was battling a chronic illness. His death was not related to the coronavirus, True confirmed.

“He really cared about Vero Beach,” True said. “He was a private person who didn’t like accolades or awards. He did stuff from the heart.”

Murphy, born in Ireland, was ordained as a priest in 1965 at St. Peter’s Seminary in Wexford, his obituary shows. Murphy then relocated to south Florida, where he served in parishes in Miami, Pompano Beach, Lake Worth, Boca Raton, Stuart and Vero Beach.

Murphy served on the Diocesan level as the Bishop’s delegate in the Building and Real Estate Development department, his obituary shows. Murphy was also the president of Catholic Charities’ affordable housing for seniors.

Murphy is survived by his two sisters, Margaret Butler and Catherine Stewart, and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. Murphy also leaves behind True, and his two dogs Logan and Reilly.

On March 18, the dioceses throughout the state of Florida, including Roman Catholic churches, closed to the public because of coronavirus health concerns. Church officials said a funeral service for Murphy will be held at Holy Cross when coronavirus concerns and restrictions ease.

Those who want to make donations in Murphy’s memory can contact the Arc of Indian River County at 772-562-6854.


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