If Billie Jean Murphy, better known as "BJ" to her friends and co-workers, could somehow manage to return and speak at her own memorial service, she likely would request help for the less fortunate and stress the importance of education while sandwiching her remarks between humorous stories and jokes.
If Billie Jean Murphy, better known as “BJ” to her friends and co-workers, could somehow manage to return and speak at her own memorial service, she likely would request help for the less fortunate and stress the importance of education while sandwiching her remarks between humorous stories and jokes.
Murphy, who died Sunday, Feb. 26, in Texarkana at the age of 67, completed a 42-year government career in 2008 as director of military personnel and community activities at the Pine Bluff Arsenal. She had arrived at the arsenal in 1996.
“She was one of my best friends there,” said Barbara Slifer of White Hall, a retired arsenal public affairs director. “She brought so much joy to people’s lives. No matter how stressful things might have been, she would get you back on track with her humor.
“She could usually find humor in almost any situation.”
That ability to make others laugh made Murphy a popular master of ceremonies at arsenal and community events. An avid supporter of The Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas here, she was also an actress and entertainment writer.
“I’ve had people tell me that I’ve not only got my mom’s sense of humor, but also that I look and act like her,” said her son, Kelly Murphy of Pine Bluff. “I like the same type of things she did, and she’s the one who put a sense of humor in me.
“Whenever anyone compares me to her, it’s one of the best compliments I could receive. She was truly a wonderful woman.”
The younger Murphy is a chemical engineer at the arsenal. He said his mother has influenced his career.
He said she “got things done” in her work with the same energy for which she was admired in her charitable and entertainment efforts.
“She taught her children the importance of treating people equally and to always try to help the needy,” he said. “And she also told my two sisters and me that education was the key to our success.
“She was very proud that each of us earned a college degree.”
Funeral services for Murphy will be held at 10 a.m. today at Texarkana Funeral Home.