Cover photo for Fred Murphy's Obituary
Fred Murphy Profile Photo
1939 Fred 2019

Fred Murphy

June 25, 1939 — December 14, 2019

Frederick R. Murphy, the former long-time director of the Syracuse Housing Authority, died peacefully on Saturday, December 14, 2019 surrounded by family at the age of 80 years old.

Fred was born on June 25, 1939 in Ithaca, New York to John and Jean (Ross) Murphy. Fred fell in love with the water as a child, building his first boat at age 14. He spent all of his life sailing and boating, first on Cayuga Lake and later on Lake Ontario in Henderson Harbor, New York. Fred was an avid builder. He restored homes, cars, and boats, spending countless hours in the garage tinkering.

Fred graduated from Ithaca College in 1962 and moved to Syracuse for graduate study at Syracuse University. It was there that he began his lifelong work in public service. After working in neighborhood development and housing code enforcement for the City of Syracuse, Fred became the third ever director of the Syracuse Housing Authority, the agency he led for over 35 years, from 1971 to 2006. Under his leadership, the Syracuse Housing Authority worked tirelessly to provide access to good homes for people throughout Syracuse. As Fred explained during an interview upon his retirement: "You don't have to walk through many places many times before you get a sense of what this agency is doing: providing people with a very decent place to live. That makes it all very worthwhile."

In Syracuse Fred met his lifelong love Diane Lyden Murphy, with whom he built a life of family, adventure, travel, and a firm commitment to social justice. Fred and Diane were married on June 24, 1967 and had five daughters and 11 grandchildren: twin daughters Galyn (husband George Stanley, children Aydan, Brynn, and Devin) and Kynna (husband Michael Collins, daughters Keelin and Saoirse), and later Shannon, Erin (husband Evan Weissman, children Rowan, Éamon, and Lorna) and Meghan (husband John Burns, children Shiloh, Shane, and Cian), all of Syracuse. In addition to Diane, their children, and grandchildren, Fred is survived by his sisters Judith and Jacqueline, an extended family, and many lifelong friends.

Calling hours will be on Saturday, December 21, 10am-12pm and funeral mass at noon. Services to be held at St. Lucy's Church, 432 Gifford Street, Syracuse.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Fred's honor to the University United Methodist Church food pantry (, Syracuse Grows (, or the Syracuse Northeast Community Center (
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Fred Murphy, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Calling Hours

Saturday, December 21, 2019

10:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Mass

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Starts at 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

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