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Murphy Strong Sr.

August 24, 1929 ~ July 6, 2018 (age 88)

On Friday evening July 6, 2018, God finished Murphy’s mansion in glory and summoned him home to live eternally with Him. Murphy began his earthly journey August 24,1929 through his parents the late Jerros and Essie Dubose Strong. Murphy was educated in the Knoxville City School System and was a graduate of the Austin High class of 1947. In 1950, Murphy entered the United States Army and was honorably discharged in 1952 with the rank of corporal.  Several years later he began working at Tennessee Valley Authority in the personnel department and was instrumental in hiring qualified African Americans to different divisions at TVA.

Murphy was an accomplished pianist who began playing for churches at the age of 12. At age 13 he began playing for the gospel group “Coleman Trio” where he met his wife Eugenia, a member of the trio. Murphy and Eugenia (Genie) were married for 63 years and to this union three children were born, Murphy Jr., Dora Athaleen and Michelle Irene. Murphy spent more than 75 years providing music to churches in the Knoxville area to include, Payne Avenue playing 31 years, Mt. Olive playing 15 years and Mt. Calvary playing 10 years. He retired from being the full time Minister of Music at Payne Avenue in 2009 and was honored with a retirement celebration. “Good music should bring life to a service, it should rejuvenate a spirit”. He also remarked that he considered it a great honor and privilege to serve God for as long as he has because as he concluded, “Music is not a profession to me, it is my life”.

He is preceded in death by his parents, brothers William and James D., sisters, Irene, Julia Gordon, Mary Elizabeth, Essie Foster, Flenora and Kathaleen.

Murphy leaves to cherish his memory; devoted wife, Eugenia; children, Murphy Jr., Dora Campbell, Michelle; grandchildren, Chemeka Scaggs, Sekeia Campbell, Ronnie Campbell, Jr., LaSharra Whiteside; great grandchildren, Ronnie Campbell III, Joaquin Greenlee, Iraun Campbell, JaMari Harris, Jayceon Harris; sister, Athaleen; sister-in-law, Pearlie, a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Thursday, July 19, 2018, the family will receive friends from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. with a Celebration of a Life Well Lived Service to follow at Greater Warner Tabernacle AME Zion Church, 3800 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue.  Reverend Dr. Cleo Brooks, Pastor and Pastor Kamau Kenyatta, Officiant.  Interment will immediately follow at East TN Veterans Cemetery, 2200 Gov. John Sevier Highway, where military honors and white dove release will conclude the service.  Flowers may be delivered to the church the morning of the service.  Professional arrangements entrusted to Patton Funeral Home, Brian L. Buckmon, LFD 1-800-824-8283 or

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