John Kelleher Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Vance Murphy sat in his room at Northern Montana Care Center Saturday. His family had him "all spiffed up" to celebrate the special day. At 97, Murphy was celebrating a special day that few people get a chance to see. Six generations of his family had gathered at the center the celebrate. His daughter, Caroline Fleury, granddaughter Cheryle French, great-grandson Carey Hendricks, great-great-granddaughter Gina Gallea and great-great-greatgrandson, 9-month-old Issac Danserau. "I've been harping to everyone to get together since Issac was born," said Fleury, who lives in Great Falls. "Up until we left this morning, I didn't know if it would ever happen." Five generation families are still unusual, though less so as people are living longer, but six-generation families are unusual. The Murphys have been a five-generation family for more than 25 years, going back to the days when Murphy's parents were alive. Born in Savoy, Murphy moved to Havre at a young age. He worked for the state highway department before beginning a lengthy career with the Burlington Northern Railroad. He lived on a farm outside of town where his daughter, Elaine Moen, the family historian, still lives. Today his room is adorned with family pictures, including some five-generation photos taken on his 95th birthday. The gathering enabled family members to look back on the old days, including the time when electricity and telephone service were installed at the family home. Working for the highway department came in handy for the family, they recalled. "During the great flood, I got a ride on the big highway truck," recalled Fleury. And Murphy recalled his first car a big event in his life because not many people had cars in those days. "I got my father's Model T when he got a Chevrolet," he recalled. His wife of 61 years, Olive, 91, also lives at the care center. The crowd gathered for Saturday's celebration was just part of the massive Murphy family. Murphy's children live in great Falls, Havre, Arizona and California. His grandchildren are scattered over North Caroline, South Carolina, Oklahoma and California, as well as in all four corners of Montana. In all, he has five children, 15 grandchildren, 24 greatgrandchildren, 13 great-greatgrandchildren and a greatgreat- great grandson. "I have a very productive family," he said.