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James "Jim" Murphy

Updated: Feb 28

James “Jim” Murphy, 81, passed away peacefully with his family by his side on February 22, 2022, at the MercyOne Hospice in Johnston, IA. He was born on July 7th, 1940 in Queens, New York to James and Mae Murphy. Growing up in an Irish and Catholic family, Jim attended Catholic school and graduated from college in his hometown of Queens.


After moving to Boca Raton, FL, with his family in his late 20s, Jim moved to Chicago as a teacher and was curious to learn more. This lead him to Iowa City, IA, where he studied for his masters at the University of Iowa and owned a local furniture store. Jim made a lot of good friends during his time in Iowa City, many of whom he kept in contact with for most of his life. But, the main highlight was when he met Dianne Larsen and they welcomed their daughter, MacKenzie Rose Murphy.


Jim was never shy of trying new things and decided to make a late life career move by becoming a registered nurse in his 50s. His passion for science, ability to care for people, and the need to experience new things allowed him to find great fulfillment in his nursing career. He worked on the Indian reservations in Farmington, NM, worked at the VA hospital in Phoenix, AZ, and finally finishing his career at the VA hospital in San Francisco, CA. He spent his retirement years in Crescent City, CA, volunteering for the Coast Guard Auxiliary and traveling to the Philippians and Thailand, where he met many good friends.


His daughter, MacKenzie, was lucky enough to spend her childhood traveling to visit him, and it was in those trips that the two developed a deep love and bond with one another. He always made sure their trips included all of MacKenzie’s favorite activities, such as shopping, site seeing and going to movies. Jim moved back to Iowa in 2013 to be closer to his daughter and son-in-law, Dane. He was later blessed with three grandchildren that were the light of his life. Jim cooked weekly meals for his grandchildren and loved spending time with his family.


Jim was a very intelligent, unique, kind, curious, and down-to-earth Renaissance man. He loved gardening, painting, and reading. Even after suffering multiple strokes over the last two years, he continued to find purpose in his love for painting and seeing his family. He will be missed by so many.


Jim is survived by his daughter, MacKenzie Bakker (Dane) of West Des Moines, IA., and his three grandchildren: Reese Marie, Katherine James and John Carl Bakker. His family would like to extend a special thank you to the nursing and medical staff that have helped them throughout the last few years. The staff at Senior Suites of Urbandale, Urbandale Healthcare Center, and MercyOne Hospice in Johnston showed compassionate care and support for Jim during his hard fought battle.