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La Grange man dies after saving grandson in canoe accident

Published: Monday, June 17, 2013 12:45 p.m. CDT
(Photo provided)
Dennis Murphy, 70, of La Grange, died June 12 after his canoe capsized in the Delaware River near Nazareth, Pa. He was an avid golfer and enjoyed fishing and the outdoors.

LA GRANGE – A La Grange man died last week after saving his 9-year-old grandson after their canoe capsized.

Dennis Murphy, 70, was canoeing June 12 with his son-in-law and two grandchildren on the Delaware River near Nazareth, Pa., when their boat capsized. Murphy's son-in-law, James Ferri, was able to grab his younger son, Thomas, while Murphy grabbed the older boy, Samuel, by the waist and brought him to Ferri. 

Ferri then went back into the river and brought Murphy to shore. He conducted CPR until Murphy could be brought to a hospital, where he was revived briefly before passing away. It was later determined that he had suffered a heart attack while in the water. 

Murphy is survived by his wife, Deborah; his children, Kristin Murphy and Laura Ferri; and his grandchildren, Samuel, Thomas and Lucy Ferri. Born in Elkhart, Ind., Murphy spent most of his professional career as the senior staff accountant for Commonwealth Edison in Chicago. During retirement, Murphy tutored and substitute taught at The Avery Coonley School for the gifted in Downers Grove and at Lyons Township High School. Murphy was an avid golfer and also enjoyed fishing and the outdoors. He loved Purdue and Duke basketball.

“Dennis Murphy was always upbeat and a total optimist,” said Ginny Richardson of Burr Ridge, a 40-year family friend. “He truly saw the joy in life and lived his life with that joy. I will always remember him for his sense of humor, his kind-heartedness, his integrity and his love and devotion to his family. He will be so missed by his family and hundreds of friends.”

Family will receive friends from 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Adolf Funeral Home, 7000 S. Madison St. in  Willowbrook. The funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 139 E. First St. in Hinsdale. Services will conclude at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Dennis Murphy Memorial Scholarship Fund at The Avery Coonley School.

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