Local government officials pay tribute to Richmond Hill Mayor Pro Tem Johnny Murphy, who died Dec. 19 after a long battle with a form of cancer known as multiple myeloma. Murphy was 63.
Richmond Hill City
Councilmember Tara Baraniak
“I have yet to meet someone who loves Richmond Hill as much as he did. I will miss sitting next to him at council meetings, his fist bumps and the way he said my name. Johnny was a funny man, but a wealth of knowledge. I learned a lot from him while serving on council together. I don’t think many people know how hard he worked behind the scenes to help Richmond Hill prosper. I’m grateful for the time I spent with my friend and Richmond Hill is a better place because of his service to our community.”
Richmond Hill Mayor Russ Carpenter
“Johnny was a man of so many excellent qualities. Yes, he was larger than life, yet he was humble, and was one of the least pretentious people that you will ever meet. He had an innate ability to relate to people from any station in life, young or old, business owners or working-folks. He was very generous, and genuinely loved helping people. One time, he surprised a friend by landscaping their yard. The friend came home to find trees, rose bushes from Johnny’s own yard, and other shrubs meticulously placed. It’s one of the best yards in that neighborhood now.
He could work a phone, too. Rarely, in any meeting or discussion with Johnny, were there not a couple of calls, whether it be one of his many friends calling with an issue, or someone simply seeking his advice. I never once heard him complain. The time and commitment Johnny gave to our small town made such a difference and we will feel a void for a while, one that won’t easily be filled. But one of the many things I learned from Johnny is to always look forward. So we will, after we grieve, move on, and will do so abundantly better because we were lucky enough to have known, learned from, laughed with, and made things happen with Johnny Murphy.”
Bryan County Commission Chairman Carter Infinger:
"The Bryan County Board of Commissioners mourns the loss of Mayor Pro Tem Johnny Murphy, a dedicated public servant who loved our community and worked to make it better. His impact is seen and felt throughout Richmond Hill, thanks to his fervent support of local economic growth and development. We are grateful for the opportunity to have worked with him and will honor his memory now and in the future."
District 1 Commissioner Noah Covington:
"I always enjoyed time spent with Johnny, he always had something in the wind with an interesting story to be told. He dearly loved Richmond Hill and South Bryan County. I will always remember him fondly. Our love and prayers go out to his family."
Bryan County School Board Chairman Eddie Warren:
“He was a visionary. He had a very intelligent mind and foresight when it came to looking at how we were going to grow. I remember when I first got on the board of education and we were having some growth issues. He did his own study to determine 10 years from that point what our student population was going to be, and 10 years later he pulled the legal pad out, and he was only off by 20 or 30 students. It was amazing, but that was Johnny. He was uncanny."
On Murphy as a developer:
"The developments he did were beautiful. Buckhead, Buckhead North, Redbird Creek .... And I believe he opened up the first real estate office in Richmond Hill, so he had that vision for the area that far back. He was a great guy and he always treated me fairly. He'll be sorely missed.”