John C. Murphy retired as Chief of the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Division, of the Bureau of Individual Taxes, of the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, on June 15, 2007, after 20+ years in that position, and after 35 years in service to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I tell you this with two personal points in mind.
But first, like attorney Fred Gailey, presenting the credentials of the U.S. Postal Service at the trial of Kris Kringle in "Miracle on 34th Street" (1947), I must tell you some facts about the PA Inheritance Tax Division, which John headed for so long.
According to an "Overview of the PA Department of Revenue", that Division is grouped within the Bureau of Individual Taxes.
Specifically, the Inheritance Tax Division administers & collects the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax (PIT). The PIT is authorized under an unconsolidated Pennsylvania statute, found in the Tax Reform Code of 1971 (72 P. S. § 9103). Certain regulations are found in Chapter 93, of Title 61, of the Pennsylvania Code ("Inheritance Tax Division"). PA DOR's excellent pamphlet about the PIT is found here.
The PIT is a significant component of the revenue system for the Commonwealth. According to a recent Press Release issued by the PA DOR, "Revenue Department Releases November Collections" (11/30/2007):
Other General Fund revenue figures for the month included $61.6 million in inheritance tax, which was $2 million below estimate, bringing the year-to-date total to $339.3 million, which is $10.5 million above estimate. * * * [Emphasis added.]It is a big job; and John did it well for many years, leading many dedicated Revenue Department workers in that Division.
So I am writing, first, to congratulate John for a job well done for many years!
But I am also writing, now, to solicit support for John from the many people whose lives he may have touched over the years.
Today I learned that John, unexpectedly, underwent brain surgery. He is recuperating at home. His wife told me that it began with a headache on October 19th, progressed to hospitalization on October 22nd, and then resulted in surgery on November 2nd.
The good news is, there is no malignancy, which bodes well for his future health. The bad news is, John underwent brain surgery, which is quite invasive & debilitating. Recovery from such a major operation is difficult & frustrating.
So, I write to offer John & his family best wishes and repeated prayers for his sound & speedy recovery.
To the extent that others wish to do the same, you may send an email message to him (firstname.lastname@example.org), or a card/note to him at home (507 Parkway Road, Harrisburg, PA 17110-1568).
John Murphy & his co-workers know that the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax applies to intangible assets.
But his surgery & healing remind us about another type of intangibles -- those valued by attorney Fred Gailey in that trial to disprove "lunacy":
"Look Doris, someday you're going to find that your way of facing this realistic world just doesn't work. And when you do, don't overlook those lovely intangibles. You'll discover those are the only things that are worthwhile." * * *Those intangibles are not subject to tax, need not even be reported, but should be accumulated & transferred in abundance.
"Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to. Don't you see? It's not just Kris that's on trial, it's everything he stands for. It's kindness and joy and love and all the other intangibles."
On Thursday, December 13th, I learned from his wife, Darlene ("Enie"), that John passed away peacefully early in the evening on Wednesday, December 12, 2007.
Shawn E. Young, a Hearing Officer in the Board of Appeals of the PA Department of Revenue, sent me an email message expressing her respect & affection for John, whom she knew as a co-worker & friend since 1981:
[John was] always willing to listen, encourage, and counsel. John never blew his own horn; he saw the best in people and always encouraged us to excel.Update: 12/16/07:
Now that we are beginning the process of collecting money for remembrances, I am touched by how many people also knew him as I did.
I will miss him very much -- his wonderful sense of humor and his easy smile.
Services have not yet been published, but I expect it will be in tomorrow’s paper. I look forward to celebrating his life, and know that his reward will great.
An obituary for John C. Murphy was published by PennLive online, which announced services to be held on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 at 10 am:
John C. Murphy, 58, of Harrisburg, passed away Wednesday at the Harrisburg Hospital. * * *To transmit condolences to the family privately online, you may access the website of the funeral director, Hetrick Funeral Home, under the heading "Send Condolences", with reference to John. Or you can write a public condolence on the "Guest Book for John" through the Legacy module of the PennLive site, where other messages, already transmitted, can be read until January 14, 2008.
He retired in June as Chief of the Inheritance Tax Division, having served for 35 years at the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Revenue. * * *
John was a man of quiet wisdom. He was a gentleman and friend to many. His quick wit was part of his unique ability to make any one feel at ease. He will be remembered for his loving heart and the countless hours he spent helping others. * * *
Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday at 10 a.m., at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. Burial will be held in the Resurrection Catholic Cemetery. * * *