Stephen Patrick Murphree, Sr.,79, of Guthrie, OK, passed away on March 18, 2023, after a courageous battle
with Alzheimer’s Disease. He was born May 3, 1943, in Nashville, TN, the third son of John Leonard and Sarah
Steve graduated from Dothan High School, class of 1960. Following graduation he attended Auburn University
for one year before enlisting in the US Army, where he served from 1961 - 1964. He spent 2 of those years in
Intelligence stationed in the Philippines. After completing his tour he returned to Auburn where he earned both
his BSBA and MBA. His very first (and only!) interview out of college was with IBM, with whom he was
employed until 1992. Steve, along with two IBM associates, founded Eastern Technology Associates. Together
they provided Eastern NC with technological consulting until Steve’s retirement in 2008.
In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his brothers John, Jr. and Terry. Surviving Steve is his wife,
Patricia, whom he loved with all of his heart for all 48 years of their marriage. He is survived by his children
Stephen, Jr. (Susan), of Cullman, AL; John “JJ” (Bridgett) of Piney Flats, TN; Lynn (Ken Marino) of Ocracoke,
NC; and Allison (Derek Caswell) of Edmond, OK. His grandchildren (Sarah Florence, Charlotte, and Stephen
Caswell) and his great grandchildren (Addison and Emerson Leopard) were the lights of his life. Even toward
the end of his illness he and “Little Stephen” were the best of buddies. Steve is also survived by his brothers
Mike (Libba) of Dothan, AL; and Matt (Rhonde) of Greer, SC; as well as sister Susan Kelley (Mark) of
Birmingham, AL. He leaves behind many cherished nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews, and
“honorary” family members. Our family would like to give special thanks to his caregivers who treated him with
such respect and dignity.
Steve was a faithful servant of Christ who lived to serve others. During his years of service at the Greenville
Homeless Shelter (now known as Community Crossroads Center) in Greenville, NC, he saw the center grow
from cots in an old school auditorium into a facility with transitional housing, educational resources, social and
mental health services, and work placement programs. In 2008 he received the Virginia and W.M. Scales
Friends of the Shelter Award in recognition of his contributions since the shelter’s inception in January 1988.
He was praised by pastor and friend Rev. Bill Neely, who emphasized Steve’s optimistic character and abiding
faith that funding would be found for this important and essential shelter to flourish. Steve served on the board
for over 20 years, including time as President and as Treasurer. While in Greenville, he was also on the Board
of Directors for the Mediation Center and the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC. Once he and Pat retired
to Ashe County, NC, Steve served on the boards of Hospitality House of Boone, NC and the Ashe Co. Sharing
Center. He gave so much of his time to so many other organizations. Steve served as Elder and Sunday
School teacher at both First Presbyterian Church in Greenville, NC and Mt. Jefferson Presbyterian Church in
West Jefferson, NC.
In addition to his faith and love of service, Steve was known for his kindness and great sense of humor. We are
convinced that he invented the Dad Joke (“When is a door not a door? When it’s AJAR”). He loved a good
crossword puzzle in the morning and a good Ale with some Smokehouse Almonds in the evening. He
cherished the many times he and his buddies would hit the slopes in various locations in Colorado and Utah.
A visitation will be held on Sunday, March 26, at 1:00pm at the Bakerville Church of Christ in Bakerville, TN.
The service will begin at 2:00 with burial to follow immediately in the Bakerville Cemetery. Steve will be laid to
rest next to his beloved parents and many other family members. In lieu of flowers, please honor Steve with a
donation to one of the organizations that he believed made such a difference: Community Crossroads Center
(communitycrossroadscenter.org), Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC (foodbankcenc.org), Hospitality
House of Boone (hosphouse.org).
Arrangements are entrusted to Luff-Bowen Funeral Home
Online condolences can be made by visiting luffbowen.com.
2400 HWY 13 N, Waverly, TN 37185