Flags to fly at half-staff for community leader

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 1, 2001

Features Editor

Flags in Troy will fly at half-staff today in memory of Sam Murphree who died at his home on July 3.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. today at First Baptist Church of Troy.

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Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford ordered the flags be flown at half-staff in tribute to Murphree who was a leader in the city of Troy for many years.

Murphree was an American patriot, a Southern gentleman, a community leader and a community servant.

"What more can you say about a man than that," Lunsford said. "It is hard to find words to express what Sam Murphree meant to our community. His influence will be felt for many years to come. His contributions made Troy a better place to live and to work."

Murphree was a former mayor of Troy and served on the Troy City Commission for 20 years.

During the time the city was under the leadership of a commission-type government, the three commissioners served as mayor on a rotating basis.

"Sam served six or seven terms as mayor and he was very knowledgeable in matters of finance," the mayor said. "His leadership and his business expertise put the city in great financial shape and in a position to grow and prosper."

Lunsford said Murphree helped to spearhead a venture that lead to a local economic boom.

"Sam was among the leaders in our area who saw the benefit of organizing the Southeast Alabama Gas District," he said. "We have benefited greatly from the gas district. It has a been a boon to the economy for us and for other communities."

When a need was defined for an up-to-date football stadium. Murphree was there with his boots on.

Murphree was very much involved in the construction of Memorial Stadium, Lunsford said.

As president of Murphree Bridge Company, he made his equipment available for the construction of the facility, saving many dollars that could be used for other purposes.

"Sam was involved in setting up a governing board for the stadium," Lunsford said. "The board was made up of the mayor, the chancellor of Troy State University and the superintendent of Troy City Schools, bringing all entities involved to the board."

State Representative Alan Boothe said Murphree stands out in his mind as one of the great leaders who have served Troy.

"Mr. Sam was a long-time friend and a great man," Boothe said. "He will be missed."

Murphree was treasurer of Goodwin-Murphree Bridge Company and president of Murphree Bridge Company until his retirement in 1976.

He died July 3, 2001 at the age of 98. Most young people never had an opportunity to know him, but, they and their children and grandchildren will benefit from the good he did for the community.

Today, flag in the city will fly at half-staff. Sam Murphree is worthy of this final tribute.