Cover photo for Dr. John Allen Murphy, Sr.'s Obituary
Dr. John Allen Murphy, Sr. Profile Photo
1941 Dr. John 2022

Dr. John Allen Murphy, Sr.

December 6, 1941 — March 25, 2022

Dr. John Allen Murphy, Sr., 80, of Cleveland, passed away on Friday, March 25, 2022.  Dr. Murphy and his twin sister Aileen were born on December 6, 1941 in Pascagoula, MS, to the late John Watkins Murphy and Anna Ruth Ellis Murphy of Vancleave, MS.  John was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son and brother.

John Allen, as he was known in Vancleave, remained grateful his entire life for being a twin, being part of a large family with seven siblings, and for having the support of the community in which he grew up.  John was a devout Christian and a life-long Southern Baptist. His family was active in the First Baptist Church of Vancleave, where his grandfather had been a pastor.  Playing the piano and singing from the Baptist Hymnal remained important spiritual practices throughout his life.  

He obtained a degree from Perkinston Junior College and graduated from Mississippi College in Clinton, MS with a Bachelors of Science in chemistry with a minor in mathematics.  He graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine in Jackson, MS.  For two summers during medical school, he served as an extern at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, TN, where he met the love of his life, Marilyn Kleinfeldt, then a student at the Baroness Erlanger School of Nursing.  Following both of their graduations, they married on August 12, 1967 at First Lutheran Church in Cleveland, TN.  

The young couple moved to Little Rock, AR where John completed an internship in Pediatrics at the University of Arkansas.  John credited his wife for working extra shifts as a nurse at the hospital so that they could see each other more often as newlyweds.  The couple then moved to Jackson, MS, where they welcomed their first child, John Allen Murphy, Jr., while John was completing a residency in Pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Having joined the United States Air Force Reserves during his medical training, John served two years of active duty as a pediatrician on Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, Texas, during the Vietnam conflict. He remained committed to providing medical care to military families for the rest of his career.

In 1972, John, his wife, and their son moved to Cleveland, TN.  Over the next five years, they welcomed another son, Mark, and a daughter, Sara.  Despite John’s enduring love for his first hometown, he came to consider Cleveland home. He attended First Baptist Church in Cleveland for 50 years, where he served as a deacon for 20 years, sang in the choir and was an active member of the Adult VI Sunday School Class.  He was also a member of the Bradley Sunrise Rotary Club and the Elks Lodge.  

Dr. Murphy practiced Pediatrics in Cleveland for 35 years.  He worked at the Pediatric Center and in solo practice before founding Cleveland Pediatrics. He was a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the American Medical Association, the Tennessee Medical Association, and the Bradley County Medical Society.  He served on several related committees with a focus on providing care and medical services for foster children.

John served on medical mission trips for 15 years to Guatemala and El Salvador with First Baptist Church in Vancleave, MS.  He recruited family members, co-workers and friends to join the trips.  He loved the opportunity to provide free medical services to rural communities in foreign cultures, working alongside people he loved and respected united by a Christian mission.

Pediatrics was John’s vocation, and he considered it his mission to provide excellent care for children regardless of their ability to pay. He often referred to his patients as having been “raised in the practice” because he so loved the children and families he served and because he believed that childcare requires family and community support. He was revered as an exceptional diagnostician, who was often consulted by other physicians for complex cases. 

John loved spending time with his family and friends.  John started the day with three newspapers, was an avid reader, loved hiking and neighborhood walks, and enjoyed playing bridge and traveling with his wife. He traveled extensively in North America, Central America, Europe and Asia, but his favorite trips were those with family on the Gulf Coast.                                                                                                                                                    

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by one sister, Clarissa Murphy Carter; and two brothers, Henry Cheever Murphy and Clinton Neil Murphy.

John is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Marilyn Kleinfeldt Murphy; three children, John Allen Murphy, Jr. of Cleveland, Mark Watkins Murphy of Cleveland, and Sara Aileen Murphy of Oakland, CA; one grandchild, Anna Mae Murphy; two sisters, Aileen Murphy Russell of Vicksburg, MS, and Sarah Joy Murphy Kitchens (Ben) of Iuka, MS; two brothers, Robert Murphy of Vancleave, MS, and George Murphy (Mary) of Ocean Springs, MS;  seven sisters-in-law Sherry Murphy of Alexandria, LA, Jeanne K. Gucwa (Bob) of Kenmore, NY, Kathy K. Sowder of Anderson, SC, Colleen T. Berryhill (Steve) of Cedar Bluff, AL, Patti T. Ownby (Bill) of Cleveland, TN, Gail K. Handel (Rod) of Madison, WS, and Phyllis T. Beatty of Oswego, IL; and several nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, April 2, 2022, at 2:00 p.m., at First Baptist Church of Cleveland with Reverend Bob Pruett and Reverend Tom Wickes officiating.  The family will receive friends from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the church prior to the service.

A private graveside service will be held at a later date. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

We invite you to send a message of condolence and view the Murphy family guestbook at

Ralph Buckner Funeral Home and Crematory is in charge of the arrangements. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. John Allen Murphy, Sr., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Gathering of Friends

Saturday, April 2, 2022

12:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Photo Gallery

Visits: 449

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree