Clifton Neal Murphy, DVM, PhD, 93, a former faculty member in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, passed away after a brief battle with cancer on Jan. 3, 2020, at Boone Hospital Center in Columbia, Missouri, at the age of 93. A celebration of life will be held in the spring at a date to be determined. There will be a private ceremony of interment at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis.
He was born July 9, 1926, on the family farm in Bourbon, Missouri, a son of Clifton Murphy and Betty R. (Page) Murphy. He was raised with his older brother, Dean, and his twin brother, Dale. His uncles were veterinarians and he would follow in their career path. During WWII, at age 17, Murphy enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving as a medic on the U.S.S. LST 378, U.S.S. LST 733, and the U.S.S. LST 702. He received an honorable discharge from the Navy on July 26, 1946.
Following his military service, he attended the University of Missouri, receiving his doctorate of veterinary medicine in 1952. From 1952-1954 he was employed as an assistant professor at the Oklahoma College of Veterinary Medicine in Stillwater in the Large Animal Clinic. He received a training degree in tropical veterinary medicine in 1956 from the Royal Dick Veterinary College in Scotland and his master’s degree from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, in 1961. From 1954-1982 he was employed in various veterinary positions, serving as a consultant while living in Ethiopia and India, in private practice in Oklahoma, and working for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.
From 1982-1983, he traveled to the Philippines, performing and teaching embryo transfer in cattle. After marrying Billie Chapman in 1982, they traveled to Argentina and lived on a private ranch from 1983-1984, where he established an embryo transfer center and trained six veterinarians in the process. He served as technical director for a private embryo transfer company, American Embryos, in Michigan in 1984-1985. In 1985 the Murphys returned to Columbia. He served as associate professor and director of MU’s embryo transfer program. From 1995 until his death he served as assistant research professor for MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, continuing his love of teaching and research in the embryo transfer field.
Murphy received numerous honors and awards during his lifetime, including 1992 Honor Roll Member; AVMA and Honorary Life Membership in the International Embryo Transfer Society; 2002 Honorary Life Membership in the American Embryo Transfer Association; and 2006 Livestock Person of the Year, University of Missouri.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his older brother, his twin brother, and his son, Clifton Charles Murphy.
He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Billie; sister-in-law, Emma Murphy; a niece, Debra (Larry) Young; a nephew, Doug (Kelly) Murphy; stepchildren, Jeanine (Dave) Bequette, Kent (Marti) Chapman, Rene Barton, and Michelle (Greg) Kueck; seven step-grandchildren, two great-nephews, and one great-niece.