This obituary originally appeared on Memorial Funeral Home.

David Paul Murphy, 59, of Middletown, Rhode Island, passed away on the morning of Monday, November 30th at his home, surrounded by his loving family, after a courageous fight against illness over the past two years.

David was born on February 15, 1961, in Goldsboro, North Carolina to the late Timothy J. Murphy and Carmella (Stravato) Murphy. David is survived by his loving wife of 27 years, Kerri (Vieira) Murphy, and his three children: Matthew, Shane, and Kendra. He s also survived by his six siblings: Michael (MaryAnna) of St. Petersburg, Florida; Timothy of South Tahoe, California; Katherine (Terry) of Newport, Rhode Island; John (Pat), Paul (Amy) and Patrick, all of Middletown, Rhode Island, and his many nieces and nephews.David was a devoted Newport firefighter, attaining the rank of Deputy Chief before his retirement this year, after 26 years of selfless service.

David wasn’t born here, but he certainly was an Islander through and through. He was a 1979 graduate of Middletown High School, where he loved playing basketball and football. He could also be found during those years on his surfboard at Second Beach. There are not many places on the island where he went where there wasn’t someone he knew. In 1991, David met the love of his life, Kerri, and married her on May 15, 1993, beginning a lifelong journey of laughter, travel, and family. David lived for his family and their happiness, cherishing the annual July camping trips and other family vacations. Above all else, the trips to Walt Disney World were the highlight of his family getaways. Those who knew David understood that he had the heart and soul of a young child, always looking for excitement and adventure wherever he could find it. Alongside his wife and beloved children, David would transform once more into a kid himself and take in the magic that was all around him. In retirement, David had wished to eventually move to Florida and work for the Disney company as a bus driver, just so that he could meet different people, learn their stories, and be a part of making their day the best it could be.

David was a fierce supporter of his children and that love extended itself to all of his children’s events, whether it was a youth football or hockey game, a cross country meet, or even a martial arts competition. David was always the loudest “fan in the stands,” constantly encouraging his children to work hard, do their best, improve wherever they could, but most importantly, to have fun. During his time as a youth sports coach, many children began to look to him as a father figure themselves, inspired by his fairness, compassion, and desire to see everyone be the best they could be. Beyond the children he coached, David formed friendships with many of their parents and families; David truly made a difference in many lives over the years as he made his mark on Aquidneck Island.

Professionally, David was sworn into the Newport Fire Department in July, 1994 and worked tirelessly to rise through the ranks, retiring as a Deputy Fire Chief in July, 2020 after 26 years of dedicated service. Described as a “firefighter’s firefighter,” David truly led by example and was recognized as a “take-charge, around the station kind of guy.” Even on his days off-duty, David would frequently be found performing renovations on the various fire stations that he had called “home.” Known to his fellow Fire Fighter brothers as “Murph,” David was known as a skilled leader and would always show confidence while in command. David was also a member of the Newport Fire Department Honor Guard. The Newport Fire Department was another family David loved spending time with, whether it was in the band called “Private Parts” where David notes; “we never said we were great, but we are entertaining,” or his annual trip to New Hampshire known as the “Wood Cutter’s” weekend, which David looked forward to with great anticipation for the memories to be made.

For all of David’s achievements and accomplishments, his greatest triumph came in the hardest job possible: being a parent. David’s children could not have been prouder to call him their father. Throughout his years, David taught his children whatever he could about life, being safe, being good to others around them, but most importantly, to be good to themselves.

A truly selfless individual, David was willing to lay down his life for those in need as a firefighter and would be willing to sacrifice anything for the good of his family. David was a hero in every sense of the word and his deeds and actions in life will not be forgotten with his passing. His legacy lives on in his wife, his children, and all of those who had ever known him.

A Private Mass of Christian burial will be held on Saturday December 5, 2020, at 10:00 am in St. Lucy’s Church, 909 West Main Road in Middletown. Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the Newport Rescue Wagon Fund 21 Marlboro Street Newport, RI 02840.

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