In memory: Dr. Timothy Murphy

Northern Kentucky University mourns the loss of a distinguished anthropology professor. Dr. Timothy D. Murphy died January 24, 2011 at the Indiana Regional Medical Center in Indiana, Pa. near the home of one of his sons. Services were held at the Bence-Mihalcik Funeral Home in Indiana, Pa. on Jan. 29, 2011.

Murphy suffered a stroke in August of 2010 before the beginning of the fall semester and was unable to return to teaching. His students and colleagues were shocked to hear of his passing because they thought he had made progress in his recovery.

Murphy was born on September 30, 1936 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He held a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh and received a bachelors degree in anthropology from Ohio University. He began his teaching career in anthropology in 1964 at the University of Cincinnati. He taught classes at NKU for 21 years beginning as a part-time professor in 1987.

Murphy taught anthropology, international studies, Latin American and Caribbean studies and Spanish. Murphy was well known for his research on the contemporary Aztec people of the Tlaxcala/Puebla region of Mexico and was accompanied by NKU students on his research trips on several occasions.

Murphy’s research provided much insight into the contemporary Aztec people and spanned over five decades. His research was highly recognized and published. He wrote many papers and gave many presentations about his research. He was the faculty sponsor for the NKU Student Anthropology Society for several years and a past secretary of the Anthropology Division of the Kentucky Academy of Science.

Murphy also served in the Navy aboard the destroyer escort, the USS Eaton, from 1954-1957. He held many other interests outside of the anthropology field including acting. He was a member of the Indiana Players, a non-profit volunteer community theater group, and appeared as the lead in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf,” “Harvey,” “Look Back in Anger,” and Waiting for Godot.

Murphy’s presence, personality and professional research will be greatly missed not only by his friends, family, colleagues and students, but by the university itself.

Story by Matthew Brewer