Dennis Michael Murphy

| 12 Oct 2017 | 02:25

    Dennis Michael Murphy of Warwick passed away peacefully on Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla. He was 78 years young.
    Dennis was born on Aug. 10, 1939, in Nyack, the son of Walter and Margaret (Lenihan) Murphy. He was one of five siblings. He graduated from Pearl River High School.
    He was very proud of his service to our country as a Vietnam veteran in the United States Army.
    Dennis graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a Bachelor's Degree in Biology and then worked as a researcher for Lederle Laboratories in Pearl River for more than 30 years.
    On a skiing trip to Killington, Vermont, he fell in love with his soulmate and guardian angel. After wooing her, they took a canoe ride out to a small island on a tranquil lake in the Adirondacks, where he proposed. Their union, if we could all be so lucky, lasted for 45 years
    He was a lifelong naturalist. His Aunt Julia bewitched him with large color prints by 19th-century master painter John James Audubon. Dennis was mesmerized and began his adventures into bird watching in 1947.
    As a member of the Edgar A. Mearns Bird Club, he participated throughout the years with activities such as hawk watches and statewide Christmas bird counts in and around the majestic Hudson Valley. Dennis had an affinity for birds and wildlife, he worked tirelessly as a leading voice to protect the Kingfisher in New York. He loved sharing his experiences with the other birders and made dear friends with whom he truly valued and enjoyed spending time with. You could always find him out and about, ready with binoculars around his neck, a telescope in tow, and his blue eyes peering out from under his hat.
    Ornithology wasn't his only passion, he was also a horticultural wiz, taking his love for botany and experimenting and successfully grafting plants. He often took expeditions to Arboretums with friends and family, studying the collection of plants ever the student. You could see the respect he had for Mother Earth through his hard work and dedication on the landscaping of his home. His understanding and articulation of Latin was also impressive. You would never hear him refer to any living thing with its common name, the Lotus flower for example was none other than an aquatic plant from the genus: Nelumbo.
    There would also be a species to follow, which would depend on the variety of flower of course.
    Dennis was a fountain of knowledge and should have been a contestant on Jeopardy. You could ask him anything from A to Z, and he would know the answer or acquire your answer in no time.
    He had a vast collection of solely nonfiction books ranging from Birds of North America to The Collected Poems of A. E. Housman.
    For those who knew him and loved him dearly, they would agree that he was soft to his core and cared deeply for his family and friends, sometimes to a fault. Dennis was known to be quite a conversationalist, but anyone who met him would say he was a joyous guy, oozed of good humor and had an exuberance for life.
    He had the desire to share as many of his anecdotes with you as you would have time for. Dennis was eager to spread his wealth of knowledge, which was purely his gift. Life is truly richer, if you were blessed to have crossed his path.
    Dennis is survived by the love of his life, Joyce of Warwick; his daughter Karen Bodnar and her husband Peter of Pleasant Valley; six grandchildren: Peter IV, Bridget, Brendan, Zachary, Michael and Ryan; and his sister, Mary Haines and her husband Curtis of New City.
    He was predeceased by brothers Walter and Edward Murphy and sister Joan Singleton.
    “Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us everyday, unseen, unheard, but always near, still loved, still missed and very dear.”
    A special celebration of life service for Dennis is scheduled for Oct. 21.
    Please contact 845-243-5019 for details.
    The family respectfully asks that, in lieu of flowers, you honor his memory with donations to:
    The Edgar A. Mearns Bird Club
    Attention: Linda Strohl
    8 Park Road
    Salisbury Mills, NY 12577