John Murphy was born and raised in Morris County. In his early years, John grew up in a section of Morristown called Little Dublin which is in the shadow of Assumption Church, the parish his family belongs to today. His parents, Michael and Bridget, were both born and raised in Ireland. His father hails from County Kerry and his mother from County Clare. After independently immigrating to the United States as young adults, Mike and Bridie met in New York City and decided upon their marriage to make Morristown their home.
John, the eldest of 7 children, had a memorable childhood in Little Dublin as the neighborhood was full of Irish families. While his grandparents and many of his aunts and uncles still lived in Ireland, these families of Little Dublin became his surrogates here in the states. To John, it was the earliest form of a Neighborhood Watch program. He and his siblings were forced to toe the line as there was an “aunt” or “uncle” on almost every porch in Little Dublin.
John also has fond childhood memories of marching with his father and fellow Kerrymen in the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade, as well as family trips to Gaelic Park to watch hurling and Gaelic football. Visits to Ireland were highlighted by reunions with some of his nearly 80 first cousins, including celebrations at the Rose of Tralee Festival in Kerry and outings to the beaches in his mother’s hometown of Doonbeg. On one trip to Ireland, John and his family had the unexpected privilege of having the Aer Lingus flight captained by his uncle who provided John and his siblings with a memorable flight experience.
In the early 1970s, as the Murphy children grew, the family moved to a neighborhood in Morris Township. Upon their arrival, the neighborhood became a mecca for youth sports. Every day at the school ball field there was some sort of pick-up game. If the Murphy boys were grounded or away for a day trip to Lake Hopatcong, all games were cancelled as their absence cut attendance in half!
John graduated from Morristown High School in 1977 where his love for sports continued. He was a quarterback on the football team and team Captain his senior year, as well as a competitive miler and javelin thrower on the track team. In addition, John was actively involved in student government, a harbinger of things to come.
John attended Gettysburg College where he majored in Business Administration. He remained involved in student government and lettered in Football and Track.
Upon graduating from Gettysburg College in 1981, John returned to his hometown of Morris Township, where his commitment to serving the community began.
He joined the Morris Township Volunteer Fire Department in 1982, where he is still one of its most active members. Over the years, he has served in every line position for his fire company and as the department’s volunteer chief in 1990 and 1991. John was recognized by the Morris Township governing body for the rescue and attempted resuscitation of a woman from a house fire in December of 2014. He had previously been recognized for the rescue of a student trapped in a dormitory fire in 1996, his response to Ground Zero after 9-11, and his trip to Louisiana with the Morris County Decontamination Unit after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
John also coached youth football in the 1980s where his experience as a high school and college player was invaluable to the dozens of players on his teams. From 2009 to 2015, he returned to the coaching ranks of the Morristown Wildcats. He served as a head football coach for several years and was named the 2014 Coach of the Year in the American Division of the NJ Suburban Youth Football League after his 6th grade team won the “Super Bowl” that year.
After serving on the zoning board for Morris Township in the early 1990’s, John was elected to the governing body in 1993. He was Mayor in 1996 and 1997. He credits his colleague, friend, and mentor, Kathleen Hyland (Grand Marshal 1998), with helping him mesh his desire for public service with the politics of serving in an elected position.
In 1997, John was elected to the Morris County Freeholder Board (county commissioner) where he served for 15 years. Among his many accomplishments, was the spearheading of the acquisition of over 300 acres at “Greystone” from the State of New Jersey. The land has been renamed and redeveloped for recreational and non-profit use. In recognition of his vision, the County named a road after him. “John J. Murphy Way” is on the site, now known as Central Park of Morris County. John was also a candidate for Governor of NJ in the Republican Primary in 2005.
John has received numerous Leadership and Achievement Awards from organizations such as Gettysburg College, Leadership Morris, The Interfaith Food Pantry, Morris Tomorrow, Community Hope, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, Morris County Economic Development Authority, The Morris County Mental Health Association, and others. He was presented with the first Alex DeCroce Leadership Award by Governor Christie in 2012. John and his wife had the honor of attending the White House St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon with President George Bush in 2006.
John is also proud to be an active member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Morristown.
John is a Financial Advisor at Private Advisor Group in Morristown.
He and his wife, Jennifer, live in Morris Township with their four children. Caitlin is a junior at the University of Notre Dame and spent the summer of 2017 studying in Ireland. Megan is a freshman at Gettysburg College. John worked on weeklong Habitat for Humanity projects in Appalachia with Caitlin and Megan over four previous summers as his daughters also share in their father’s desire to volunteer. Their son, Jack, is a freshman at Delbarton School in Morristown and Emily is in third grade at Assumption School in Morristown.