The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


February 12, 2014

Robert Murphree

— Robert “Bob” Henry Murphree, 82, died Feb. 9, at home after an illness of six months. His smiling face, sense of humor and love of life will be missed by many. His beloved Alabama was 
home for many years before a move to Roanoke, Va., to be near family. Then Roanoke 
became his beloved home, too.

He spent four years in the U. S. Navy serving with the Seabees in Newfoundland and Cuba. He 
received bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in the field of education from the University 
of Alabama. After coaching football and serving as principal at the high school level for a short 
time, Bob served as head of the Division of Education at Athens State University and retired in 1996. After retirement he served on various community boards and was 
an active volunteer with several local agencies.

Bob's major hobby and love was “people.” He wanted to brighten peoples’ lives because he 
loved them. He enjoyed cars, trucks, motorcycles and sports. He was a Detroit Tigers fan from 
the age of six and was loyal to them, win or lose, throughout his life. Of course, he also 
cherished his Alabama Crimson Tide football team, which provided him with much joy.

The United Methodist Church was a very important part of Bob’s life. His grandfather was a 
Methodist minister as was his father. He was a treasured Sunday school teacher and led various 
study groups for many years within the Methodist church. He was a member of First United 
Methodist Church in Athens, and of South Roanoke United Methodist Church in 
Roanoke, Va.

Bob was married to his high school sweetheart, Billie Kuykendall Murphree, for 58 years. 
Their identity to friends was as “Bob and Billie” rather than as individuals.

Survivors include his wife, Billie; brother, William Murphree and wife Mary; daughters, Robin Smith and 
Dawn Long and husband Bruce; sister-in-law, Bobbie Kuykendall; grandchildren, Charley Ann Jones and husband Chris, Michael Smith, Laura Long and Jacob Long; great-granddaughter, Whitney Martin; and several 
nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father, Robert Dwight Murphree; mother, Goldie Horton Murphree; stepmother, Nola Marple Murphree; father-in-law, Alpha 1. Kuykendall; mother-in-law, Taudy Honea Kuykendall; and son-in-law, Gary Michael Smith.

The family shares Bob's philosophy through one of his favorite songs from the Blackwood 
Brothers: “Give the World a Smile Each Day.”

A memorial service celebrating Bob's life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, at South Roanoke United Methodist Church with the Rev. Stanley Wright officiating. A reception will follow.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice of Limestone County or a charity of choice.

Arrangements by Oakey’s South Chapel, Roanoke, VA, 540-989-3131.

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