Clifford James “Butch” Murphy, Jr.
November 20, 1952 - November 28, 2023
Clifford James “Butch” Murphy, Jr. passed away at 5 p.m. on Nov. 28, in time to have a Miller on the other side. He was 71.
Born on Nov. 20, 1952, in Wilmington, Del., Butch was a longtime resident of New Castle. He graduated from De La Warr High School in 1971 and served in the Army National Guard until 1977. He was a service writer at Price Toyota in New Castle for several years, before he embarked on a 30-year career at Helen’s Sausage House, which was founded by his mother Helen (Murphy) Achenbach and Melvin “Mudge” Achenbach.
At Helen’s Sausage House, Butch created the Sausage Wagon, a mobile version of the restaurant, which he operated for many years before food trucks were trendy. He brought the wagon to the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna almost daily and was a great friend to law enforcement officials across the state. As the second-generation owner of Helen’s, Butch ran the store with his wife and inseparable partner JoAnne for decades, ensuring the iconic restaurant was open by 4 a.m. for truckers and hunters.
While customers sometimes encountered Butch’s gruff exterior, no one could miss the twinkle in his eyes. He was beloved by all. Those closest to him knew him as a softie, who was the first to offer help and the first to cry. He loved being surrounded by his family and friends and few left his presence without a kiss on the lips and an “I love you” in their ear.
Butch was a longtime member of the Police & Fire Rod & Gun Club in New Castle, serving two stints as president. Usually found at the club when not at work, he was a member of the day and night shuffleboard leagues for many years. He was also a member of the Irish Parade Group of New Castle, and an avid bowler and golfer. In early adulthood, Butch could be found tearing up the roller rink floor.
He is survived by his beloved wife JoAnne Murphy and ex-wife Linda Stevenson; his sister Diane Murphy Phillips and her husband Wayne; brother-in-law Bob Charles; his children Clifford J. Murphy III and fiancée Meghan Aftosmis, Kerri Hunter and her husband Bruce, and Wayne Lockwood; grandchildren Zack Hunter and wife Kelci, Nik Hunter, Jillian and Delaney Murphy and their mother Jennifer Murphy; great grandchildren Landon and Avery Hunter; nephew Michael W. Phillips and his wife Jessica, niece Amy Phillips Harty, nephew Rob Charles, and cousins Kimberly Newsom and her husband William, and Richard Thomas. He is also survived by several great nephews, Murphy cousins, longtime employees Tina Jamison, Pat Taylor, and lifelong friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents Helen Mary (Murphy) Achenbach and Clifford J. Murphy Sr., stepfather Melvin “Mudge” Achenbach, aunt Joan Thomas, aunt and uncle Stella and Layton T. Arterbridge Jr., sister-in-law Diana Charles, grandparents Mary M. and Raymond C. Knox, Layton T. Arterbridge Sr., and Francis J Murphy and Bertha; and many Murphy cousins.
Butch’s family would like to thank the doctors and nurses at Penn Hospital for their wonderful care. They would also like to extend appreciation to the doctors and nurses at Delaware Hospice during his short time there. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Delaware Hospice, 630 Churchmans Road, Newark, DE 19702 or online by clicking here.
The viewing will be held from 10 am until 12 noon on Thursday, December 7, 2023, at Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 1000 North DuPont Parkway, New Castle, DE, followed by a funeral service and a celebration of Butch’s life at 12 noon. Entombment will follow in Gracelawn Memorial Park, 2220 North DuPont Highway, New Castle, DE.