Cover photo for Allen Murphy's Obituary
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1969 Allen 2024

Allen Murphy

September 3, 1969 — March 8, 2024

J. Allen Murphy, Jr., attorney, friend, and beloved member of his family and the Cleveland community, died at home on March 8, 2024, from an apparent heart attack.

Allen was born in Jackson, Mississippi on September 3, 1969, to Dr. John Allen Murphy, Sr. and Marilyn Kleinfeldt Murphy.

After the Murphys relocated to Cleveland, he attended Mayfield Elementary, Cleveland Junior High, and, for the ninth grade, Cleveland High School. Thereafter, he attended and was graduated from The McCallie School in 1987. While at McCallie, he wrote for The Tornado and served as President of Christian Social Action.

In 1991, he was graduated from Emory University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in English and Philosophy. He was a brother in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity and a Governor's Intern with the Georgia Indigent Defense Council.

Following undergraduate school, Allen enlisted and served honorably in the U.S. Army.

After his military service, he earned a full scholarship and teaching fellowship that allowed him to pursue a Masters of Arts in Philosophy and Religion at the University of Mississippi Graduate School in Oxford, Mississippi. While at Ole Miss, he served as Vice President of the Graduate School Student Body and was accepted to the University of Mississippi School of Law, from which he earned a Juris Doctorate. While in law school, Allen earned the Outstanding Negotiation Skills Competition Award and completed the International and Comparative Law Summer Program at Downing College at Cambridge University.

Allen's stories, particularly from this time in life, sometimes sounded as fictional as those from William Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County, but a shocking number of them are true. He loved to tell the story of his favorite day of work as a bookseller at Square Books in Oxford. As he was preparing to open the store one morning, famed authors John Grisham and Stephen King met him at the door and asked if they could sit on the second floor and watch a statue being restored on the Square. Allen kept the shop closed so the two men could speak freely and enjoy the view undisturbed by other customers.

After passing the bar, Allen worked for several law firms before he opened The Law Firm of J. Allen Murphy, Jr. here in Cleveland. As a solo practitioner, he brought his broad legal acumen and compassion for others to bear in helping clients through difficult personal struggles and assisting them with achieving fresh starts for themselves, their families, and with others. Allen believed in the redemptive power of Christ and the law. "To whom much is given, much is required," was the mantra of his legal practice. Although he enjoyed being part of a collegial legal community, he stood steadfastly by his clients and fought for them.

Most notably, two of those fights were class action lawsuits that at their root defended human dignity. The first was against a Georgia Crematory that won compensation for families whose loved ones' remains had been mistreated. The second was on behalf of inmates, some of whom died, who were neglected or denied adequate medical care at the Bradley County Justice Center.

An insightful student of the human condition, Allen knew that we are imperfect beings struggling to do-and to be-the best we can be in a fallen world. And he would be the first to acknowledge that he embraced his own imperfections, savoring food, drink, poker, long conversations with friends, and the allure of women-all without apology. A voracious reader and a walking talking encyclopedia of all things travel, beauty, art, film, and music, Allen was, perhaps, the best conversationalist of his generation. His self-deprecating wit, irresistible charm and irreverent approach to life simply made it impossible to bear him a grudge or stay angry with him.

In recent years, his calling to serve led him to convince his father to join the Sunrise Rotary Club with him. Together they were able to learn more about the needs of the community and take action to meet those needs. Allen served as the President of the club from 2022-2023 and continued to be active until the time of his death. He was active in the Elks Lodge and the Friday Prayer Breakfast at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, where he was a member.

Allen was preceded in death by his father, his grandparents and several uncles, aunts and cousins. Allen is survived by his loving, loyal, and patient mother, Marilyn Kleinfeldt Murphy; his brother, Mark Watkins Murphy of Cleveland, his sister, Sara Aileen Murphy of Nashville, and his favorite of all people, his beloved niece, Anna Mae Murphy. Allen also leaves behind a large extended family and many dear friends to mourn him.

We will celebrate Allen's life on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Cleveland, Tennessee. The family will receive friends and family from 11 AM until 2 PM. The funeral will begin at 2 PM with internment in the Memorial Garden to follow.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations made in Allen's memory to The McCallie School, The Friends of the Greenway Fund, or the charity of your choice.

Please be advised that any clients of The Law Firm of J. Allen Murphy Jr., are, hereby, directed to contact the law firm of Chancey & Kanavos, Attorneys at Law, (423-479-9186) who have been appointed to assist in the closing of Allen's practice.

You are encouraged to share a memory of Allen and/or your personal condolences with his family by visiting his memorial webpage and guestbook at www.companionfunerals.com. Companion Funeral Home of Cleveland is honored to assist his family with these arrangements.

Service Schedule

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Visitation

Saturday, March 23, 2024

11:00am - 1:30 pm (Eastern time)

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Memorial Service

Saturday, March 23, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

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