Hon. James M. Murphy Dies 5/12/17 05/16/17 8:56:36 AM
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|Hon. James M. Murphy
September 22, 1928 - May 3, 2017
Retired Douglas County District Court Judge James M. Murphy died last week following a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.
Judge Murphy was born and raised in Omaha. He attended Creighton University for both his undergraduate and law degrees. He served in the Army for two years after graduating from law school, and then began practicing law in Omaha in 1956.
During his career, Judge Murphy worked in the Douglas County Attorney’s Office, was elected to the Douglas County Board of Commissioners, and served as assistant to Omaha Mayor Gene Leahy. In 1977, he was appointed by then-Governor J. James Exon as a Douglas County District Court judge. He served as presiding judge from 1979 to 1980 and again from 1990 to 1991.
In 1997, after 20 years, Judge Murphy stepped down from the district court, but continued his work in the judiciary. He lead efforts to establish the Douglas County Adult Drug Court, the first problem-solving court in the State of Nebraska.
In 1998, Judge Murphy was appointed presiding judge of the Douglas County Adult Drug Court and was awarded with the Omaha Bar Association’s Robert M. Spire Public Service Award for his work in establishing the court. He would also be awarded the Creighton University School of Law Alumni Merit Award, the State Judiciary Award for Community Service, and the Nebraska State Bar Association George H. Turner Award for his devotion and hard work in establishing and presiding over the Douglas County Adult Drug Court. Judge Murphy retired fully in 2009, after more than a thousand participants successfully completed the adult drug court program.
Judge Murphy was preceded in death by his first wife, Kathryn; second wife, Sally; daughter, Marguerite Cavallaro; and stepdaughter, Bernie Rivard; as well as his his brothers and parents.
He is survived by his son, Matthew Murphy, and grandsons Sean and Joe; son-in-law, Nick (Becky) Cavallaro III, and grandsons, Nick Cavallaro IV, James (Danielle) Cavallaro and great-granddaughter Olivia, and Cory Cavallaro; stepdaughters Julie (Bret) Cain, Jean (Pat) Lanphier, and Barb Rivard; sister, Margaret Malloy; sister-in-law, Betty Murphy; and friend and caretaker, Jan Caughlin.
A service was held on May 7, 2017 at the Bel Air Chapel. A Mass of Christian Burial was held the following morning at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Memorials are suggested to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
– By Cassidy V. Chapman