by Stephen Dafoe
with files from Lucie Roy
Morinville resident, WWII veteran and longtime commissionaire Don Murphy, who passed away June 3, 2020, was honoured Monday at Commissionaires Northern Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut Division headquarters in Edmonton.
A small ceremony of distinguished guests, colleagues, friends, and family gathered to commemorate the dedication and naming of the building in Murphy’s honour.
Inside the foyer of the renamed building, a plaque will memorialize Murphy. The plaque contains images highlighting the WWII vet’s military career and his subsequent contributions and accomplishments.
“Don was one of the last serving WW II veteran commissionaires in Canada,” the plaque reads. “His personable demeanour made him welcome wherever he was assigned. As a Commissionaires ambassador, he contributed immensely to Northern Alberta Division’s reputation for quality people. This Headquarters building is dedicated to Don’s commitment to Corps and Country. Don was born September 1, 1923 and passed away June 3, 2020.
Brigadier-General W.H. Fletcher, OMM, SMV, CD, Commander 3rd Canadian Division and Joint Task Force (West), John Slater, Chief Executive Officer, Commissionaires Northern Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut Division, Former Premier Ed Stelmach, and Michelle Curé, 3rd Canadian Division HQ AO and longtime friend were among the special guests in attendance.
“We talk a lot about service before self, but Don lived that mantra, Brigadier-General Fletcher said. “He would be the last person to tell you about his past, but he was a true hero. We live on the shoulders of this giant.”
Premier Stelmach said he fondly remembered Murphy at the Legislature.
“He was easy-going, and it was pleasant seeing him each time you entered the Legislature,” Stelmach said.
Commissionaires NANTND CEO John Slater said Murphy’s life was dedicated to service and that he had served his country in war and peace until he could no longer do so.
“He did so much, gave so much and served so many for so long. But despite all he did, he was so humble,” said long-time friend Michelle Curé, 3rd Canadian Division HQ AO.
Murphy served in WWII, was awarded by order of the President of the Republic of France, the rank of Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour had a catering business and worked 33 years as Commissionaire.
As required by Canadian regulations regarding the decoration of Canadian citizens by foreign states, the Canadian authorities had to provide official approval for the presentation and wearing of the insignia.
Murphy was a 37-year member of the Legion and actively engaged in numerous events. He spoke at the Veterans Affairs Canada Boots of Remembrance Departure Ceremony commemorating the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy held at the Jefferson Armoury in Edmonton April 2019.
Donald Murphy passed away June 3, 2020 at the age of 96 years. The Interment took place on Aug. 28 at the Morinville Community Cemetery. Don was predeceased by his wife, Marie Antoinette “Toni” Found- Murphy in 2018.