The Passing of Mrs. Audie Murphy

May 14, 2010 By
Posted in Military History, Military News

I’m so incredibly late on this, but the news hit at a bad time for me and I wasn’t able to catch up. But, I wanted to bring this to your attention. Being a Dogface Soldier, Audie Murphy is something I consider a role model and hero. I stop short of calling him an idol, because I don’t believe them, but he is someone that our children can do well to look up to as a positive role model.

Pamela Murphy, widow of WWII hero and actor, Audie Murphy, died peacefully at her home on April 8, 2010 at the age of 90. She is survived by sons, Terry and James. Pam established her own distinctive 30 year career working as a patient liaison at the Sepulveda VA Hospital, where she was much beloved. Services will be held at Forest Lawn (Hollywood Hills) on Friday April 16 at 2:30PM.

After Audie died, they all became her boys. Every last one of them. Any veteran who walked into the Sepulveda VA hospital and care center in the last 35 years got the VIP treatment from Pam Murphy. The widow of Audie Murphy – the most decorated soldier in World War II – would walk the hallways with her clipboard in hand making sure her boys got to see a specialist or doctor — STAT. If they didn’t, watch out. Her boys weren’t all Medal of Honor recipients or movie stars like Audie, but that didn’t matter to Pam. They had served their country. That was good enough for her. She never called a veteran by his first name. It was always “Mister.” Respect came with the job. “Nobody could cut through VA red tape faster than Mrs. Murphy,” said veteran Stephen Sherman, speaking for thousands of veterans she befriended over the years. “Many times I watched her march a veteran who had been waiting more than an hour right into the doctor’s office. She was even reprimanded a few times, but it didn’t matter to Mrs. Murphy. “Only her boys mattered. She was our angel.”

“She was in bed watching the Laker game, took one last breath, and that was it,” said Diane Ruiz, who also worked at the VA and cared for Pam in the last years of her life in her Canoga Park apartment. It was the same apartment Pam moved into soon after Audie died in a plane crash on Memorial Day weekend in 1971.

She went from a comfortable ranch-style home in Van Nuys where she raised two sons to a small apartment – taking a clerk’s job at the nearby VA to support herself and start paying off her faded movie star husband’s debts. At first, no one knew who she was. Soon, though, word spread through the VA that the nice woman with the clipboard was Audie Murphy’s widow. It was like saying Patton had just walked in the front door. Men with tears in their eyes walked up to her and gave her a hug. “Thank you,” they said, over and over. The first couple of years, the hugs were more for Audie’s memory as a war hero. The last 30 years, they were for Pam.

She hated the spotlight. One year she was asked to be the focus of a Veteran’s Day column for all the work she had done. Pam just shook her head no. “Honor them, not me,” she said, pointing to a group of veterans down the hallway. “They’re the ones who deserve it.”

The vets disagreed. Mrs. Murphy deserved the accolades, they said. Incredibly, in 2002, Pam’s job was going to be eliminated in budget cuts. She was considered “excess staff.”

“I don’t think helping cut down on veterans’ complaints and showing them the respect they deserve, should be considered excess staff,” Pamela said in an interview.

Neither did the veterans. They went ballistic, holding a rally for her outside the VA gates. Pretty soon, word came down from the top of the VA. Pam Murphy was no longer considered “excess staff.” She remained working full time at the VA until 2007 when she was 87.

“The last time she was here was a couple of years ago for the conference we had for wounded veterans,” said Becky James, coordinator of the VA’s Veterans History Project. Pam wanted to see if there was anything she could do to help some more of her boys.

RIP Pamela Murphy: October 7, 1923 – April 8, 2010

12 Responses to The Passing of Mrs. Audie Murphy

  1. Robert Feldman

    She was a true American hero, and we should recall her honorable service as we do with all of our young warriors fighting for USA

  2. It is with a deep sense of sadness that I just read of Mrs. Murphy’s passing and know she’ll continue on in the hearts of those left behind. I also think that her years of honorable service to our veterans deserves special recognition for going above and beyond.

  3. Annette Kitagawa

    It’s people like Pam Murphy that make you want to stand taller, do a little more for those around you, show the young how it can and should be. RIP Mrs murphy. A job well done

  4. wow he is the most graets in this world

  5. Richard J. Melillo

    I was lucky enough to meet this amazing lady when I took my father to that VA hospital. Wow! what a LOVELY lady.
    She spent time with my dad and talked about her love of Audie and how he wisked her off her feet, just like my Dad would have if he met her then…..
    Still beautiful and radiant she made my dad (a sailor from WWII) feel like he was well and handsome young man and it was the first time I saw him smile from his deepest heart in years. She will always be grand in my heart. Rest in PEACE Mrs. Murphy, your Honor makes all of us a lot taller.
    Richard Melillo

  6. I rember whe n pam was an air line hostess , I rember when they got married I was 12 years old maby a little younger when i startes colllecting picture of Audie Murpny i have a lot of pictures of the family all the way up to the plane crash ,Pam was a hero to me for all she did for our service men and women at the va hospital . pam you will be missed and always loved. terry and james, Guy’s you had a great mother who will alway be an Icon

  7. Cheryl Northern

    When I read this article, I noticed that it said, Mrs. Murphy “died peacefully at her home, at age 90″. Since both my Mother, and my husbands father were both born in 1922, and just this year are turning 90, I thought she must have been a lot older than they were. But after looking at Mrs. Murphy’s date of birth and date of passing, it seems that she was not 90, but 86, as she passed piror to her 87th birthday of October 7th.

  8. I’ve loved and honored Audie Murphy since I was 10 years old, watching his movies at my hometown park during summer vacation. What a remarkable man he was. I’m a vet supporter and always interested in anything I can learn about the Army–about World War II. My brother-in-law, Lt. Michael K. Wonderlich, was in the Army and was killed in Viet Nam, in 1968.
    I am now 70 years old and just finished reading “American Hero–The Life and Death of Audie Murphy”, by Charles Whiting. I admire Pam Murphy; What a strong, admirable lady she was. Go with God, Audie and Pamela Murphy.

  9. Jacqueline Rowles

    I am 67 and have followed Audie ever since I can remember. He was a fine young man who did his mother proud I am sure of. He was a great hero during WW2 and I pray that many young boy and men of today would follow his footsteps. Praises to Pamela for staying with Audie during his tough life after seeing all the death he saw during thewar.She was a greatlady.I am sure their sonsarevery proud.

  10. The winds of time just blew another candle out. But the memory of time will forever leave her image incased in our hearts. The chance and odds of two people loving their country as much as they did’ will never arise again. Husband and wife. Audie and pam thank you for your desire to share your life with us. May you always be rememberd in the way that you lived. My hat off to you and my thanks.. GOD BLESS…

  11. This Spring I saw Audie Murphy’s grave at Arlington Cemetery as I listened to a recording of his heroic exploits. I just heard about Mrs. Audie Murphy while listening to Dr. J. Vernon McGee on the radio, and looked her up, finding this article. I am sure, then that her marvelous treatment of our vets stemmed from living her life in service to the God she loved. She now has received her eternal reward in heaven.

  12. Both Audie and Pam Murphy sure contributed a lot to this nation and we should all be forever grateful. I know
    I am.

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