By Karen Andrew
The Cincinnati Enquirer
When J. James "Big Jim" Murphy sought the presidency of the Cincinnati Chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in 1966, he pledged that - if elected - the Hibernians would have a St. Patrick's Day parade.
He was elected in January 1967 and made good on his promise. He and fellow Hibernians Mike Murphy and R. Murray Fogarty had only two months to organize it and didn't have a parade permit.
But somehow, they got the first parade going on March 17, 1967, and it's been a favorite annual Cincinnati event ever since.
"It was absolutely horrific weather, and he walked with the mayor," said one of his daughters, Colleen Klosterman of Price Hill. "There were more people participating in the parade than bystanders."
Mr. Murphy died Tuesday at Good Samaritan Hospital, Clifton. The Price Hill resident was 75.
Born in Price Hill, he graduated from Elder High School in 1947. He played tackle for the Xavier University football team from 1948-50 and earned a bachelor's degree in business in 1951.
He married Mary Suzanne Cooney of Springfield, Ohio, in 1959.
He was executive director of Unit Masonry Association of Greater Cincinnati for 23 years. From 1986-88, Mr. Murphy was a bailiff at the Hamilton County Courthouse. He then worked as a sales representative for Janell Inc. in Erlanger before retiring in 2002.
His memberships included the Elder Alumni Association and Price Hill Old Timers. He was inducted into the Xavier University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994. He received the Elder Alumni Spirit Award in 1995 for his enthusiasm in the Elder community.
"He definitely was a people magnet and people were his hobby," said Klosterman. "He made every single person feel important. He believed in faith, family and friends."
Mr. Murphy was preceded in death by his wife, Mary.
He is survived by another daughter, Maureen Coz of Price Hill; three sons, Jim of Covedale, Dan of Malvern, Pa., and John of Western Hills; and nine grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian burial will be 10:30 a.m. today at St. Lawrence Church, Price Hill. A celebration of his life will take place after the Mass in the St. Lawrence Parish Center.
Memorials: St. Lawrence Church, 3860 Warsaw Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45205-1759; Elder High School, 3900 Vincent Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45205-1699; or Xavier University, 3800 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45207-5110.
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