Troup County News lost its heart and soul with the passing of Editor Judy L. Murphy, who started the newspaper with her husband, Eddie, in 2005.
Her passionate, plain-spoken and always entertaining prose struck a power chord with readers and elevated the newspaper into the most popular and talked about publication in Troup County. The newspaper will continue in the same tradition.
Murphy, age 57, suffered a massive heart attack early Sunday morning at the couple’s home on Robertson Road and she died at 10:30 the next morning at West Georgia Medical Center, sending shock waves throughout the community.
Funeral services were at Higgins LaGrange Chapel Funeral Home off Morgan Street with the Revs. Cleve Moore and Rev. S.T. Janie officiating. Interment was at Restlawn Memory Gardens. Online expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family at www.higginslagrangechapel.com.
“What I’ll remember about her is her tenacity,” said Ricky Wolfe, who got to know her during the nearly seven years he has been Chairman of the Troup County Board of Commissioners. “She saw a marketing opportunity and built a successful business. I don’t think anybody worked harder than she did. She seemed to be everywhere all the time. I’ll always admire her for that.”
Said the couple’s long-time optometrist Dr. Cliff Rainey: “I admire them for starting the Troup County News – it was pretty gutsy. They were just a very devoted couple with a fine family. I saw the love they shared between them. She’ll be missed by all who knew her.”
Former Troup County Manager Mike Dobbs, a long-time friend of the family, said the Murphys were “just a super couple and very hard-working.”
“She always tried very hard to go after the facts to make her stories and editorials factual and legitimate,” Dobbs said. “In my opinion, Troup County lost a very good person who was very compassionate. She always talked about being a Christian and about her love for the Lord and God.”
District Attorney Pete Skandalakis said, “Our community lost someone who stayed involved in the community trying in her way to make things better. My condolences to her family.”
Troup County News started as a blue, one-sheet newsletter that Murphy initially financed with a $100 prize she received from a church, along with a message to make the money grow ten-fold. By the end of the week, she had sold enough advertisements to return $560 to the church. The paper now publishes three times per week – two 20-page editions and one 28-page edition.
“Judy was an upstanding Christian lady with a wonderful business sense and she was very motivational to me,” said Jerry Johnson, owner of First Realty LaGrange, Inc., who writes a column for each edition. “In fact, she started with a dream and no borrowed money. She was always positive about everything and she was very inspirational.”
Many people were not aware of her charitable activities, which included service on the board of Emmaus House women’s shelter and Troup County CrimeStoppers.
Early this year when Jackson Heating and Air donated a system for the Boys and Girls Club, Murphy paid the salaries of Jackson employees while they worked on the project.
“She paid it out of her own pocket so they wouldn’t lose anything,” said business co-owner Dale Jackson. “I really appreciated that.”
When Troup County News Assistant Manager Vicki Sharpton needed new tires for her car, Murphy slapped the money on Sharpton’s desk and told her, “Go get you some tires.”
“She was such a big-hearted person and would help anybody in need,” Sharpton said, “She didn’t want anything in return. This newspaper was her dream. This was what she wanted.”
Long-time friend Al Wyche said Murphy was “dedicated to God, family and her business.”
“She was compassionate and giving to all who may need a hand up,” said Wyche, owner of American Home Center and Beechwood Furniture. “I’ll always remember her as a loyal friend.”
The same goes for Troup County Coroner Jeff Cook.
“If she believed in you, she stood behind you,” Cook said. “She was passionate about what she did and she believed in the people she worked with.”