Edward Murphy Memorial Park – Formerly Memorial Park
- Jim Wade
- October 1, 2018
- 3 Min Read
For twenty years, the old “Memorial Park” remained empty. In the winter of 1987-1988, discussions between the village and the Department of Transportation were held regarding the intersection of Van Dyke and Howland Roads. The new high school was being built on Howland Road north of the intersection and the traffic flow through this intersection was going to substantially increase. At that time, the Horatio Sawyer Earle Monument sat on an island in the middle of the intersection. To improve the safety of the intersection would require the reconfiguration of the intersection. Reconfiguration of the intersection would necessitate that either the monument be removed or relocated to another site.
Through the efforts of many local people who wished to preserve the town’s history, the monument was photographed, disassembled, and labeled in February 1988. Later that fall, it was reconstructed in “Memorial Park”.
Edward Ford Murphy was born on September 22, 1932 in Detroit to Edward and Elizabeth Ford Murphy.
He graduated from Almont High School in 1951. He joined the Navy and served in Korea and Vietnam during his 25 years of service. At the time of his death, he was employed at the Selfridge Air Force Base.
On Saturday, May 1, 1988 Edward Ford Murphy died suddenly of a heart attack. Ed had been a member of the village council for ten years and had served as President for the last three years. He had just been re-elected in March.
At a May 10th council meeting, Councilman Don Barker suggested renaming the old “Memorial Park” site in memory of Edward F. Murphy. The next week, the council established the Edward F. Murphy Memorial Park fund so residents could contribute toward the development of the park. Mr. Barker had begun plans for the park.
During the year following Ed’s death, community volunteers using mostly donated materials constructed the monuments. In the fall of 1988, the Horatio Sawyer Earle Monument was reconstructed in the park. The volunteers constructed a triple purpose monument; one section to honor Edward Murphy, one to honor those who served in the Korean War, and one for those who served in the Vietnam War.
Behind the wall are three flag poles. The flag pole on the left flies the State of Michigan flag. The center pole files both the United States flag and a “MIA/POW” flag. The Navy flag flies from the flag pole to the right.
On Saturday May 6, 1989, just over a year after Ed’s death, a dedication ceremony was conducted with about 150 people attending. The flags were raised, a 21-gun salute issued, wreaths were laid at the Murphy monument and the Koran and Vietnam War monuments, and taps was played. Following the ceremonies about 100 people attended a reception at the municipal building. At the reception, those volunteers who contributed to the creation of the monument were recognized.
Also attending the dedication ceremonies was Horatio Sawyer Earle II, the grandson of Horatio Sawyer Earle. Horatio II, at the age of 10, accompanied his grandfather to Almont when the monument was originally dedicated on August 21, 1930. With Horatio II were his grandsons, Renald and Horatio Sawyer Earle IV.