Dr. Keith Murphy, 57, a resident of West Fargo, North Dakota, died on April 1 in Fargo under palliative care at Essentia Hospital, surrounded by his family. Keith Eugene Murphy, Ph.D., was a tenured professor in biology at North Dakota State University, where he taught until just days prior to his death.
Keith, the dearly beloved son of Arlene Murphy and the late Stephen Murphy, was born on October 31, 1960 in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from St. Laurence High School in Burbank, Illinois, where he was also named an all-American cross-country athlete. He earned an undergraduate degree in microbiology at Indiana University. He received an M.S. in molecular genetics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and his Ph.D. in genetics/biochemistry from Louisiana State University.
After his Ph.D., Dr. Murphy went on to a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Cell, Molecular and Structural Biology at Northwestern University Medical School. He spent the next few years as a Postdoctoral Research Geneticist at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service in Laramie, Wyoming. He then took a position as Assistant Professor of Biology at The Citadel.
This was followed by positions at the University of Memphis (Associate Professor of Molecular Genetics), Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (Professor of Pathobiology), Clemson University (Professor of Genetics and head of the Clemson University Genomics Institute), and North Dakota State University (Professor of Biological Sciences). He achieved tenure in all these positions. He was also involved in collaborations with the College of Veterinary Medicine at Midwestern University in Arizona.
Dr. Murphy’s interest and passion was canine genetics. He served as an editorial advisor for several genetics and genomics journals, and he was a reviewer of grant proposals for the National Institutes of Health, and the Canine Health Foundation, where he also served as the Foundation’s Science Officer. He had a long research career, funded by grants from 1993 through 2012. He was recognized with awards of excellence for both research and teaching.
Dr. Murphy was known for a wry sense of humor and a demanding sense of values and work ethic. During his career, he identified several canine genetic markers and was the author of patents and numerous publications. He leaves behind a legacy of contributions to canine genetics, as well as numerous postdoctoral fellows and students who earned Ph.D.s, D.V.M.s, and M.D.s, and whose careers were shaped by his intellect and mentorship.
Dr. Murphy is survived by his beloved wife, Carol, two sons, Connor and Taylor, and three stepchildren, Brennan Balog, Cole Kartes and Rachel Kartes. He was also a dear brother to Stephen (late Maureen), sisters Dianne (Randy Johnson), Dr. Jean Murphy (Gene Tenuta), and Kristen Murphy (Brendan McConville). He was uncle to Stephen, Jessica, Kathleen Johnson, Griffin McConville, Stephen, and Connor Murphy. Keith also leaves behind his English Goldendoodle Percy, also known as Percival Albus Wulfric Brian Dumbledore Murphy.
Visitation will be from 2-3 p.m., followed by the Memorial Mass at 3:00 p.m., Friday, April 6, 2018 at Holy Cross Church in West Fargo. Interment will be at a later date in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Alsip, IL. Arrangements entrusted to the care of Boulger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center. To sign the online guestbook, please go to www.boulgerfuneralhome.com.