Brandon Murphy
Memorial website in the memory of your loved one
His legacy
Brandon Christopher Murphy Memorial Fund  

Immediately after this tragedy happened Brandon's family made the decision to set up a memorial fund at his high school, University Christian School, in lieu of flowers.  This school was a very special place for Brandon. He found a place where he felt he belonged, and he flourished.  He wrote for the school paper, acted in plays and made many friends.  We had no idea at the time what was needed at the school.  We thought the money could be used for the art program or maybe video or computer programs.  These were all interests of Brandon's.  He loved to write, draw, act, take photographs and play video games.  The only thing we were sure of is that this couldn't be used for anything related to sports or Brandon would haunt their locker rooms. (Sports were not his forte.) 

Little did we know that the room where art was held for grades 6 -12 desperately needed a total makeover.  It can only be described as early 70's kitchen chic. (It was the old home ec room and photograhy room).  It needed to be completely gutted from top to bottom and redone.  Even with such difficult teaching conditions the new art teacher, hired just last year, John Dye, made the best of the situation.  He is extremely enthusiastic and talented.  The students are lucky to have him as their teacher.  Thanks to the generosity of many friends and family the art department has two new rooms for their students.  The school decided to include the room next to the original art room in the project so now there is a 'wet room' for painting and sculpturing, and a 'dry room' for drawing.

We had a dedication ceremony on December 18, 2005, the one year anniversity of Brandon's death.  It was a wonderful ceremony and many, many friends and family came to show their support.  There is a plaque that will be placed outside the room with Brandon's picture and one of his poems etched on it.  Now students who never knew him ask about him and his legacy lives on.  Here is the poem he wrote:

Your Friend

No, I'm not saving this seat
Hey I think you're pretty neat
I sure am glad that we did meet
I think I'd like to be your friend

We do have lots of fun
For each other, friends we will shun
Everywhere together we will run
I'm glad that I am your friend

As our relationship gets deep
Into the problems, we'll begin to creep
Making it difficult for us to sleep
It's sometimes hard to be your friend

Another you will begin to see
At usual hangouts you will cease to be
Then you'll say that you hate me
But I will still be your friend.

And when the stars begin to fall
When all the waters rise tall
When the seven thunders utter their call
At the end, I will be your friend.
Memorial donations can be made to:
Brandon Murphy Memorial Fund
c/o University Christian School
5520 University  Blvd W
Jacksonville, FL 32216

My Son  
Brandon was my only child, born two weeks early, on March 12, 1982. His was very small, only weighing 6 lbs 8 oz, although he made up for it quickly. He was always full of laughter, smiles, energy and mischief. He started walking when he was 10 months old and never slowed down. He was definitely a challenge at times because of his energy and intelligence. There were teachers and caretakers that embraced that challenge and some that didn't. At the daycare in Michigan he was loved by everyone and was given a wonderful going away party when we moved to Jacksonville when he was 4. Down here, he was put in the same daycare and was too much of a challenge for them and we were asked to find another place. He was 5. I guess my point is there was never a dull moment raising Brandon.

I loved him more than anything else in this world. He never failed to tell me he loved me before we said goodbye on the phone or in person. And he always gave me his big hugs. On Mother's Day 2003 he invited me over for dinner and cooked my favorites. Ribeye steak, perioges, and broccoli. Then he gave me a little diamond ring and told me that he bought it because he wanted me to know how much he appreciated what I did for him. At the time I tried to be grateful for his thoughtfulness, but in the back of my mind I'm thinking he can hardly pay his bills, yet he spent $300 on a gift for me. I now wear this ring on a chain around my neck next to my heart. Brandon would use his last dollar to buy a friend a present or loan them money. He expected nothing in return. A friend at his funeral said, "Once he knew your name, you were his friend."

He was my 'movie buddy'. We would go to all the animated movies that I wanted to see; 'Finding Nemo'; 'Shrek'; 'Antz'; and some I didn't really want to see; 'The Royal Tanenbaums'; 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'; to name a few. Someone recently told me they never went to a movie with their daughter or out to dinner. Brandon and I would always try to at least go to a movie or out to dinner once a week. He told me just about everything
(some things a mother really didn't want to hear) but I felt honored that he trusted me, even though he rarely took my advice!

I didn't know Stephanie very well before Brandon was killed. We had met a few times, he was very cautious about introducing her to his mother, or maybe she was cautious about meeting me. When we did meet we immediately hit it off. I know we both felt we had a very bright future as a family. She was the one who called the night he was killed, not knowing anything about what had happened, just trying to find out if we knew where he was. That started a very long night trying to get information. We stayed together until we knew the horrible news the next morning.

I've read so many books since this happened, trying to make some sense of this nonsense. I've not been able to find an answer. They all pretty much say the same thing, somehow I'm supposed to feel 'special' because God chose me to experience this pain and the reason will be revealed some day. That answer provides no comfort. All I know is Brandon did not deserve this. He was going to school, he was engaged to be married and had no enemies.

Brandon, I love you and I think of you the minute I wake up until the minute I go to sleep. Maybe there will be some closure when the animals that did this to you are put in prison for the rest of their lives, but that appears to be a long way away.

Stephanie's Eulogy  
American born… Longed to be British.

Large and powerful yet gentle and kind.

Fascinated by macabre comics, video games and art, yet easily frightened by an episode of the X-files.

Always embraced and sought to understand everyone…. misunderstood by many.

Looked very dapper in a suit and tie, felt most comfortable in a Simpson tee shirt

First to note the best qualities in others, rarely saw any in himself.

Self-proclaimed master of rhythm yet couldn’t carry a tune.

Always kept a positive attitude…with a certain underlying sadness.

Loved to pepper his sentences with rarely used English vernacular… but don’t ask him to spell them.

Accepted everyone regardless of past transgressions yet found it difficult to forgive himself.

Eager to help those in need as long as it didn’t require strenuous physical activity.

Intelligent, rational and introspective … yet loved to get lost in a Looney Tune cartoon.

Rich in video games, comics, music and movies … yet short on funds when paying for gas, food and other necessities.

Would rather be lost in a room full of people than face to face with himself …alone.

He trusted everyone until they proved themselves untrustworthy. Some would say that this was his downfall. I believe this quality is what made him so unique.

He’d always ask me what I loved most about him. I loved everything mentioned above and many other qualities that are inexplicable. Brandon, thank you for all the memories. I thank God for every precious day that we were able to be together and enjoy this world. You taught me how to love beyond all measure.
Brandon's Obituary  
MURPHY Brandon Christopher Murphy, 22, a loving gentle caring soul, was abruptly taken from his loving family and friends on December 18, 2004. Brandon's wit, humor, compassion and uniqueness will be missed by everyone who had the privilege of knowing him. Brandon lived in Jacksonville for most of his life and graduated from University Christian School in 2000. He was attending FCCJ at the time of his death. Surviving are his father and stepmother Christopher J. Murphy and Lisa of Mandarin; his mother and stepfather Trena Hoekenga Nesler and Ronald Nesler of Jacksonville Beach; his paternal grandparent's George and Joan Murphy of Lake City, Michigan; his fiancee Stephanie Renfroe; his very special friend Keith Hamm and many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. He was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents Earl and Helen Hoekenga. The family will receive friends at Hardage Giddens Funeral Home, 4115 Hendricks Ave, on Tuesday, December 28th from 6 - 9 pm. The funeral servic es will be held Wednesday, December 29, at 2:00 p.m. at Lakewood United Methodist, 6133 San Jose Blvd. In lieu of flowers the family requests you make contributions to the Brandon Christopher Murphy Memorial Fund at University Christian School. Please Sign the Guestbook @
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