Billie Jean "BJ" Murphy departed this earth on Sunday, February 26, 2012 after a six month battle following complications from surgery.
Billie Jean “BJ” Murphy departed this earth on Sunday, February 26, 2012 after a six month battle following complications from surgery.
BJ was born June 5th, 1944 in McAllister, Okla., to Edgar “Sonny” and Lamaria Jean Cox. At an early age, the family relocated to Texarkana, Ark. where she met Robert “Bo” Murphy. They were married in 1966 and raised three children, Jamie DeAnn Finley and Cathy Jean Marie Johnmann of Texarkana, Ark. and Kelly Murphy of Pine Bluff Ark.
After attending elementary school in McAllister Okla., she attended junior high and high school in Texarkana. In 1962 she graduated from Arkansas High School where she developed and maintained many close friendships.
BJ began her career at Red River Army Depot as the first woman hired as a warehouse/forklift operator during the Vietnam Conflict in 1965. She entered the AMC intern supply program in 1981 and graduate as an inventory management specialist in April 1984 while working at Aviation Systems Command, St. Louis, Mo. BJ transferred back to Arkansas and served as a Contract Specialist with DCAS, Camden, Ark. In April 1986, she returned to Red River Army Depot as an Ammunition Management Specialist and from there, in 1988, she accepted a position in Zweibrecken, Germany as the Chief, Facilities Branch for the 60th Ordnance Group. She authored the Ammunition Site Closure Plan for the 21st TAACOM. In 1994 BJ moved to Kaiserslautern, Germany, 29th Area Support Group as Chief, Plans and Operation Branch. In 1996 she accepted the position of Ammunition Storage Chief at Pine Bluff Arsenal, and in June 1998, was promoted to Director, Military Personnel and Community Activities where she remained until she retired after 42 years of government service.
During her time in Germany, she traveled Europe extensively, visiting France, England, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Turkey, Poland and the Netherlands.
During her career BJ received numerous honors and awards including seven Army Achievement Medals, four Commanders Awards for Civilian Service, a Commanders Award for Public Service, Pine Bluff Arsenal Woman of the Year, Arkansas Federal Woman of the Year and an Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, just to name a few.
For over 30 years, BJ supported not only the Arts, but was a driving force with various charities, community service organizations and crisis centers. She dedicated her talents to numerous domestic violence prevention programs, the Texarkana Woman’s Shelter, the Women’s Crisis Center in Camden, Ark., Texarkana Suspect Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) program and the St. Louis Woman’s Rape/Battered Shelter. After her retirement from the government, she volunteered her time and efforts on the Executive Committee of Habitat for Humanity of Texarkana where she was instrumental in spearheading the building of numerous homes, providing shelter and a future for needy families.
Other community volunteer positions included, Trustee on the Board of the Arts and Science Center of Pine Bluff and member of the Performing Arts Committee. She also served for nine years on the Board for Federally Employed Women Inc. where she won a national award for best fund raiser. She also served on many fund raising committees over the years and organized numerous fund raising activities.
BJ enjoyed acting, public speaking, and writing plays, skits, songs and poems. She was well known for her stand-up comedy, comedic book reviews and her zest for life.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Jean and Sonny Cox and one daughter, Cathy Johnmann.
She is survived by her husband of 45 years, Bo Murphy; her daughter, Jamie Finley; her son, Kelly Murphy and, two grandchildren, Lexie Nichole Anderson and Stephanie Catherine Finley.
Funeral services will be at 10:00 a.m. conducted at the Texarkana Funeral Home Arkansas Chapel on Wednesday, February 29th by Bro. Wallace Edgar and Brother Todd Reed. Graveside services will follow at Shiloh Baptist Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to your local battered women’s shelter.
Visitation services will be held from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 at Texarkana Funeral Home Arkansas Chapel.
Online registration at www.texarkanafuneralhome.com is available.