Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
In 1911, R.K. Crane founded a funeral home in Mt. Pleasant that, 110 years later, still serves the families of Henry County and the surrounding areas.
Today, Murphy Funeral Home and Monument Sales owner Jeff Murphy attributes the success and longevity of his business to a simple philosophy. “We treat people as if they are a part of our family,” Murphy said.
Growing up in the area helped develop that family-like connection to the people he works with. Murphy was raised on a family farm just outside of Lockridge. After graduating from Fairfield High School, he went to Southeastern Community College and then Iowa Wesleyan.
After undergrad, he began his journey into the funeral business by attending Mid-America College of Funeral Service in Jeffersonville, Indiana. A couple of stops after school to gain some experience lead right back to his Southeast Iowa roots.
Moving into ownership, Murphy purchased the funeral home in 2005 from longtime owners Bob and Rachael Beatty. The Beattys had owned the home since the 1960s when they purchased it from the Young family. Following the purchase of the funeral home, Murphy expanded the business by incorporating monument sales.
“We have built our reputation on compassion, dignity, honesty and caring” since purchasing the business over 15 years ago, said Murphy. Those guiding principles, plus his deep connection to the area, provide the motivation to care for families in what is often the worst time in their lives.
“I have known many of the families we work with for many years, so I feel an extra responsibility to make sure every service is as meaningful and comforting as possible. They have entrusted us, and we work really hard to live up to all of their expectations.”
While working with the families is priority one, working to make the community better is also important to Murphy. He is active in a number of Mt. Pleasant area organizations including a leadership role in the Lockridge Lions Club. He also serves on the board of three cemetery associations and remains very active in his church where he is a deacon and pianist. On a broader scale, Murphy is a member of the Iowa and the National Funeral Directors Association.
As he reflects on his time in the funeral industry, Murphy notes that there have been a few changes. “Social media has increasingly become a part of what we do.” Murphy acknowledges that these things are here to stay but also admits, “it takes some of the personal touch out of it, so it is our job to make sure that family feeling is still there.”