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Ralph W. Murphy1

b. 8 July 1922, d. 15 February 2012

Family Helen Louise Firestone b. circa 1925
Children  1. Gary Lee Murphy b. 1949
  2. Kathryn Murphy b. c 1950

Birth* 8 July 1922  Duncan Falls, Muskingum Co., OH1 
Marriage* 20 April 1946  Principal=Helen Louise Firestone1,2 
Death* 15 February 2012  Marietta, Washington Co., OH1 
Burial* 18 February 2012  East Lawn Mausoleum, Marietta, Washington Co., OH2 
News/Obit 20 February 2012  In Loving Memory
Ralph William Murphy
7/8/1922 - 2/15/2012

Ralph William Murphy, 89, died on Wednesday, February 15, 2012, at his home after a brief illness. He was born on Saturday, July 8, 1922, and was raised on a farm near Duncan Falls, OH, in Muskingum County. He served in the U.S. Navy, Pacific Theater as a radioman 3c on the USS Siboney (CVE 112). Upon his return, he married Helen Louise Firestone on April 20, 1946. For one year they attended Heidelberg College in Tiffin, OH. After her graduation, they moved to New Concord, OH, where he would graduate from Muskingum College with majors in math, chemistry and geology in 1950. He would spend most of his career in development of new processes and products, starting with Armco Steel Company in Zanesville, OH. After five years there, a short time with Owens Corning, in Newark, OH, he would move to Marietta, where he and wife resided until his death. He worked for B.F. Goodrich Company for 20 years before joining his son Gary in 1977 at Magnetic Specialty Inc., a company that he founded in 1971. Together they would expand the magnetic product line and extend their marketplace worldwide. He concluded his working career by retiring in 1994.

He traveled extensively, both on business and for pleasure, with his wife. Notable trips were a 38 day trip around the world and a 58 day cruise circumnavigating South America, in celebration of their 55th wedding anniversary. They made several trips to the British Isles, one of their favorite areas abroad. He was a member of Christ United Methodist Church, and had served on several boards and commissions. A 50 year member in Masonry, he was a member of Anchor Lodge #283 F&AM in Duncan Falls, OH. He was a member of the York Rite Bodies, Aladdin Shrine, and Marietta Shrine Club. He was active in the early development of the Little League baseball fields and managed teams for several years. A great love of his was the outdoors, enjoying hunting and fishing. After his retirement, he began oil painting and has produced several landscape paintings.
He is survived by his wife, Helen Louise Murphy, son, Gary L. Murphy (Debbie), and daughter, Kathryn Murphy (Theresa Ruppert) all of Marietta, OH. There are two grandsons Shawn and Austin both of Columbus, OH.

The funeral services will be held Saturday, February 18, 2012, at 1:00 PM at Christ United Methodist Church, 500 3rd Street, Marietta, OH. The Rev. Don Archer will officiate and entombment will follow in East Lawn Mausoleum and a gathering at DaVincis Restaurant in Williamstown, WV, following services. Visitation will be held Friday, February 17, 2012, at Hadley Funeral Home 500 5th Street, Marietta Chapel from 4 to 8 PM and at the church for two hours prior to services.

Memorials may be made to Harmar Community Center, 307 Lancaster Street, Marietta, OH 45750.

Online condolences may be made at hadleyfh.com2 
News/Obit* 20 February 2012  Magnet magnate lived "The American Dream"

By Sam Shawver - The Marietta Times ( , The Marietta Times

The man who helped put Marietta on the map as "the flexible magnet capital of the world" lived the American dream, according to his son.

"He was a dirt farmer who lived a true rags-to- riches story," said Gary Murphy whose father, Ralph, died at age 89 at his Marietta home Wednesday after a brief illness.

The father-and-son team founded Magnetic Specialty, Inc. in 1971, a sheet and strip magnet business that now sells its products around the globe.
Article Photos

"He really believed America is the land of opportunity," Murphy said while reminiscing about his father with family friend Bob Ferguson Sunday afternoon.

Raised on a farm near Duncan Falls, Ralph W. Murphy joined the U.S. Navy and served in the Pacific during WWII. After the war he spent a year at Heidelberg College, then moved on to Muskingum College where he majored in math, chemistry and geology and graduated in 1950.

Ralph married wife, Helen, in 1946 and the couple had two children, Gary and Kathryn.

The Murphys eventually moved to Marietta where Ralph worked 20 years for B.F. Goodrich, leading a team in development of new products.

He retired from B.F. Goodrich and joined his son at Magnetic Specialty in 1977.

"Ralph and I didn't agree on everything," Gary said. "But Bob was always there to referee."

Ferguson said Ralph essentially made the products and Gary sold them.

"It turned out to be a pretty good business model," Ferguson said. "They often didn't see eye-to-eye, but they were both striving toward the same goal-to make this the best company they could."

Gary compared the relationship to the magnets the company produces.

"Like poles repel," he said. "We often just thought differently. But we always worked it out in the end."

Gary said Ralph's invention of a very thin magnetic sheeting material really got the company going. But it wasn't easy.

"We had this material and had to decide what to do with it," he said. "We made up some smiley faces with the magnetic backing and took them to the state fair in Columbus. But we couldn't sell them. So we had to go back home and re-think our strategy."

Gary hit the road, traveling to trade show after trade show, and making connections with other business owners.

"Our real break came when Ralph found a stronger adhesive to bond the magnetic sheeting to vacuum-formed 3-dimensional plastic signs," he said. "I sold it at trade shows across the country. That got us to our first $1 million."

Ralph retired from Magnetic Specialty in 1994.

Ferguson said Ralph was a multi-faceted man who was always giving back to the community.

"He was a great planner," he said. "Ralph even planned his own funeral service, including the music.

"But he was also a very generous man," he added. "He helped us re-do the entrance at Christ United Methodist Church (on Wooster Street). It made the entry look so much warmer and welcoming. I always think of him when I go through that entrance."

Gary said his father also helped develop local little league baseball fields, and he loved to coach.

"I remember Ralph wanted me to play Bantam League when I was about 8 years old," he said. "But he told me it would be my choice-so I told him no. Then he said, 'wrong choice.'

"That was my dad-but I played ball for eight years after that and really had a great time," Gary added.

Gary said Ralph's community-mindedness inspired him to announce last year that the former Magnetic Specialty facility on Lancaster Street would be developed into a new Harmar Community Center, which will also house the Boys and Girls Club of Washington County.

"I think that will be a great legacy for my father," he said.

Fact Box
The Ralph W. Murphy file
Age, 89
Born, July 8, 1922 in Duncan Falls
Died, Feb. 15, 2012 at home in Marietta
Developed flexible magnets used in printing and advertising industries
Co-founder with son, Gary, of Magnetic Specialty, Inc., 1971 in Marietta
Married to Helen Murphy for 66 years
Two children, Gary and Kathryn
Two grandchildren, Shaun and Austin Murphy

Published in the Marietta Times, February 20, 20121 

Last Edited 14 Oct 2012


  1. [S1410] OH, Marietta Times, online,
  2. [S1411] OH, Hadley Funeral Home, Marietta, online,

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