O’Brien R. “Ben” Murphy, 70, of Gorham, passed on Sunday, December 19, 2021 at Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin. He was born in Rumford, Maine on September 9, 1951, the son of the late Robert G. and Priscilla (Farwell) Murphy. Ben grew up in Gorham, N.H., and in 1969 graduated from Gorham High School before going on to earn his bachelor’s degree from Plymouth State College. Ben served generations of students as an art teacher for Berlin Public Schools for 42 years and continued his love of teaching in retirement as an adjunct professor of painting and art history at White Mountains Community College. Mr. Murphy, or “Murph” as he was fondly known, was a class favorite and mentored countless students throughout the years.
Outside of the classroom, Ben was well known in the community for his passion for the arts. His paintings of White Mountain landscapes were featured in shows and exhibits throughout New England, and he volunteered his time and talents to so many local events. If you enjoyed a theatre production from Theatre North or the Berlin Players, drove past a snow sculpture during Berlin’s Winter Carnival, or visited an art show at the Medallion Opera House, chances are that you experienced his unending gift of creativity to the North Country.
While the arts were his passion, Ben prided himself on having many interests. He enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren, swimming and sunning at Garnet Pool, winning a game of Scrabble or Words with Friends, and driving his ’79 Firebird. Ever the entertainer, Ben was as amazing in the kitchen as he was in the art studio and loved cooking with the harvest of his vegetable garden. If you were ever lucky enough to enjoy a meal prepared by Ben, you left with a full stomach.
Ben was a legend to his family, a servant leader to the community, and a rock to many friends. He will be sorely missed.
Members of the family include his beloved wife of 45 years Joanne (Perdion) Murphy of Gorham; daughter Brooke (Micheal) Grondin of Gorham; son Brent (Carolyn) Murphy of Syracuse, N.Y.; grandchildren Zoe, Max, Vivian and Gwen; sisters Rhody (Chuck) Sprague of Dexter, Ore. and Roberta (Roger) Fontaine of Splendora, Texas. He was predeceased by his brother Patrick Murphy, his parents, and his beloved dogs Bingo and Murphy.
A funeral service will be held on Saturday, January 8, 2022 at 11 a.m. at the Gorham Congregational Church UCC, 143 Main Street, Gorham, N.H. Masks will be required. For those unable to attend in person, the funeral will be live-streamed (see below). In accordance with Ben’s wishes, there will be no calling hours. Donations in his memory may be made to the O’Brien Murphy Scholarship Fund c/o: Berlin High School, 550 Willard Street, Berlin, NH 03570. Arrangements are entrusted to the Bryant Funeral Homes, Berlin and Gorham, N.H. For the live-steam and Online Guestbook, please visit www.bryantfuneralhome.net.