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Bud's Beat

Fourth Estate loses a journalist's journalist
By: Bud Pisarek, Loomis News Correspondent
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A cold wind came up as I began my morning walk to get my daily fix. A hot cup of coffee to warm me and help me cope with the day ahead. Later that day, I checked for the phone number of my friends on the island of Guam. Joe and Marion Murphy have been friends of my wife, Nancy, and mine, for about 60 years. Joe was ailing and I felt it was time to check on his situation. Before I could dial the numbers, the phone rang and it was their daughter telling me that her dad had died. He had complained about being very cold early that morning and then died in his sleep at his home above the Yip Bay in Yona, just as he had wished. Joe and I had been partners in a weekly newspaper in Brookings, Ore. After we sold to relocate in California we maintained our friendship and probably subconciously dreamed of joining forces in the publishing business once again. Joe left to edit the Guam Daily News. He found his niche and his love on that tiny island way out in the Pacific. Joe’s affinity for Guam and the people’s fondness for him and his writings was mutual. Guam was good to him. And Joe did not let them down. Hundreds followed his comments about their daily lives in his column “Pipe Dreams” and his editorials. He was a journalist’s journalists. He knew his craft. Joe earned a degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin where we first met him. After that he edited several weekly papers in Wisconsin, our Oregon paper, California and then Guam. In a news report about his passing, it was noted that he coined the phrase “Only on Guam” as an occasional item in his column poking fun at the idiosyncrasies that made Guam such an interesting place in which to live. Those “items’ were published into two books: “Guam is a Four Letter Word” and “Son of a Four Letter Word.” Joe retired as editor of the Guam paper in 1988, but continued to write his column, which changed names from “Pipe Dreams” to ”Murphy’s Law” after he quit smoking. Having three brothers I can’t say Joe was like a brother to me, having a considerable number of friends I can’t say he was my best friend, but what I can say is that Joe Murphy, to me, was very special. - 30 -