Don Robison Murphy
September 12, 1929 ~ January 5, 2021
Don Robison Murphy was born September 12, 1929 in Long Beach, California to Albert Smith Murphy and Juanita Robison. He was the youngest of four children.
During his youth, he gained a great appreciation for the sciences and learning that would remain with him for his entire life.
After graduating from Long Beach Polytechnic High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he served at Fort Hood, Washington, until he separated from active duty to serve in the Army Reserves while attending Brigham Young University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Geology. He then worked as a field geologist for Seaboard Oil Co. and later Standard Oil Co.
He became a naturalist Ranger working the summer seasons in Yellowstone Park, where he met Carolyn Marie Turner from Salt Lake City. Their first date was a hike up to Inspiration Point over the Old Faithful Geyser Basin. This was the first adventure in their lives together. Don and Carolyn were sealed in the Salt Lake City Temple October 24, 1959. She remained by his side until the very end.
He earned a master’s degree in Geology at BYU and a PHD in Geography from the University of Nebraska. He taught at the University of Nevada, Southern (which later became UNLV) until 1965, and then moved to Weber State University where he taught for 33 years.
Along the way, he instructed and inspired thousands of students in and out of the classroom. He loved to guide field trips into the remote areas of Southern Utah, Idaho, and as far away as the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. He spent one memorable year teaching at the University of Natal, near Durban, South Africa. His older children have many fond memories of drifting about the Serengeti for a year.
Indeed, he was a great teacher.
After retirement, his pace of learning, traveling, and exploring only increased. Don and Carolyn enjoyed many tours, cruises, and explorations in their autumn years. Together, they saw more places, learned firsthand about more cultures, and did more new activities than most of us could only dream. He never stopped learning.
Several years ago, Parkinson's disease started to slow him down. It progressed slowly, but steadily. He never lost his mental function, as he could recall all the events of his life and retell them in the detail we had come to know and love. The very end progressed quickly, and Don faced it bravely. Don was not a Covid casualty.
Don is survived by his sweetheart Carolyn, his daughter Melanie Murphy, his son Mark (Lynn) Murphy, his son Douglas (Kristian) Murphy, his son Patrick (Kim) Murphy, and his daughter Marie (Jay) Hansen. He also has sixteen grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
A private, family funeral service will be held and he will be interned in the Salt Lake City Cemetery on Friday, January 15, 2021, where military honors will be accorded. Services entrusted to Lindquist’s Ogden Mortuary. Services will be live-streamed at 11:00 a.m. by scrolling to the bottom of this obituary page.
Please, do not mourn his graduation. Rather, celebrate his life. It was a rich and full term here upon this earth. Yes, he is missed, but everyone who knew him is a better person for the experience. Don graduated from this sphere Summa Cum Laude on January 5, 2021.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Don Robison Murphy, please visit our floral store.