It was a shock to the greater Loughboy Community and indeed to his army of admirers in our city and county.
Larger than life personality, Billy Murphy of Maple Drive, Ardnore, a raconteur, radio presenter, solo singer, chorister, a man with an unbelievable outgoing personality had passed away suddenly.
He had been out and about until some days before his death. He appeared to be his usual larger than life self.
Then, to the grief of his beloved wife Jill and loving daughters Jane and Liz he became ill and passed away after a short time in St Luke’s General Hospital.
It was a cruel blow to the close-knit family, Billy’s pride and joy.
Whether he was on stage or behind a microphone in a radio studio, Billy’s enthusiasm for life and his brilliant outgoing personality inevitably brought out the best in listeners and audiences generally with whom Billy had a super line of communication.
One of our city and county’s most popular entertainers, he livened up many a great function with his wonderful singing, story-telling and his ability to bring warmth and happiness to any occasion.
Even during his working days as an insurance man, he was perhaps always on stage, giving a few bars of a song, reminding of a great night he had at a city community social evening or forecasting another ‘super night’ to come.
Billy was an optimist. He always looked on the brighter side of life and while he loved sharing fun and entertainment with members of the public through his Sunday morning radio shows at the then KCR Radio, he was happiest when he was with the loves of his life, his wife and children and extended Murphy family.
He had the wonderful knack of being able to communicate with a plethora of age groups. He was as at home with young people as he was with our senior citizens.
The latter was perhaps his greatest asset as a broadcaster. One minute he was telling young listeners to ‘eat up your din dins’; the next he was singing an old favourite for a generation of seniors to which he always showed respect.
Like other popular local entertainers over the years, including Pat Shortis and Jim Cody aka The Wetlands Orchestra, Billy will always be fondly remembered as a terrific gentleman who was always so generous with his time and talents and was never found wanting when he was called on to join in a community evening or charity night.
Aged 78, Billy will be buried at St Kieran’s Cemetery on Tuesday after 12 noon Requiem Mass in the Church of St Patrick.
He is survived by Jill, Jane and Liz; sisters Mary, Nell, Olive and Clare; sons-in-law Anthony and Padhraic; grandchildren Conor, Eoin and Will; sisters-in-law, nephews and nieces.
He was predeceased by his parents William (Galtee) and Tess Murphy; brother Jim and sisters Kit, Joan, Vera and Daphne.
Kilkenny has lost a jewel in its crown of entertainment and friendship but Billy has left a wonderful legacy of kindness, goodwill and sheer joy for community life.
Our people have lost a great friend.