It was an afternoon and evening to remember…
A reunion of old-guard Kansas City leadership – and not just radio people. A grand send-off to an iconic Kansas City personality who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Salvation Army and many other causes over his 46-year career.
Three Kansas City mayors attended; Charles Wheeler, Dick Berkley and Mark Funkhouser.
Mayoral candidate Mike Burke dropped by earlier for the visitation (and tacklly a staffer of his planted a huge Burke sign in the middle of the lawn at McGilley’s Chapel).
Former KC mayor Kay Barnes did NOT attend. Perhaps afraid she’d be chastised for her bogus enforcement of a century old ordinance banning livestock from KC streets. A manuever that drove Murphy’s famed Cattle Drive to its final resting place in the suburbs of Mission, Kansas.
The funeral was a carnival of stories, slide shows and sound bites. The family gave out green bracelets and St. Patrick’s beads to the reception line of 500 plus joyful mourners, and invited everyone to Martin City afterward for a post-party at Jack Stack BBQ.
Friends and former radio rivals hugged it out, united in honoring their pal, Mike “Murphy” Hervey. Conspicuously absent among the luminaries at the service was Murphy’s pal, Marilyn Maye.
Ray McGuire of McGuire Mortgage last second stopped Funk from taking his junk into the women’s restroom.
Funk (who was rumored to have entered the mayoral restroom for liaisons with wife, Gloria Squitiro when she worked in City Hall) might have been depressed. He was there alone and sat by himself in the Chapel for 15 minutes with over 200 people in the packed room, and nobody so much as speaking to him.
And Thank God for Kleenex!
Operatic tenor Nathan Granner’s astounding voice brought a tear to nearly every eye while singing a cappella, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. And Eddie Delahunt, the Irishman from Dublin who holds court daily in his sandwich palace at 45th & State Line, led the packed chapel in a sing-along of “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” and “TuraLuraLura”.
The finale was a recording of The Elders singing their song, Murphy used for his final KCMO 710 radio broadcast, “The Night Mike Murphy Died.”
Father Jim Hart gave the first eulogy of three–that’s maybe a local record. And having been at KC’s first St. Patrick’s Day Parade, he let fly some of the particulars. He opined that Murphy’s oddness had passed to his progeny. “Just read the obituary!”
Sure enough, Murphy’s three children started the visitation at 3:57 pm and the funeral at 5:35pm – oddnesses that remain unexplained. But likely for the sheer joy of being unconventional, like Mike. In Murphy’s obituary, the family also suggested donations to the Salvation Army, the hospice–or their local TAVERN. First time I’ve ever seen that.
That’s one blessing of being able to write-your-own obituary when the Kansas City Star fleeces you for a small fortune.
Brother Daryl Charron – with the hospice that cared for both Mike and his wife Cathy – gave the second eulogy.
He read from Mike’s book, gave some family history of how Mike’s Dad died when he was 3 1/2, and how Mike had worked in a shoe store,where a customer noticed his voice and suggested he get into radio.
The third eulogy was the best: Rick Tamblyn, a radio pal, told of Murphy’s Mt. Baldy promotion, His’s plan to airdrop 2,000 pounds of human hair onto Mount Baldy. The two met daily after Murphy’s on-air shift, at Salty Iguana in PV. It fell to Tamblyn to solicit local salons and collect their clippings in return for on-air mentions. Fifty trash bags full of human hair were stored in Entercom’s basement in Westwood. Until, that is, a follicly challenged GM (and no, it wasn’t Bob Zuroweste) tossed them prior to the promotion. (Ron Carter now of Seattle, that was you, you momentarily unnamed rascal.).
Tamblyn got the crowd going with a pop quiz: “How much money did Murphy carry in his wallet at all times?”
To which, someone correctly shouted: “$900!”
When Murphy first came to town he met Chiefs star Len Dawson, who told him to always carry $900 in his wallet. Dawson had to scoot early to do his sports segment on KMBC-TV9. As he and his wife Linda ducked out, he said, “I’ve been to too many of these,” referring to just having buried his buddy, another KC legend, Bill Grigsby and Tony DiPardo before that.
Have some fun, Mike, whatever galaxy you now explore; your sendoff was excellent, you won’t be forgotten!