Clifton Neal Murphy

July 9, 1926January 3, 2020

Dr. Clifton Neal Murphy, 93, passed away peacefully on Friday, January 3, 2020 at Boone Hospital Center, after a brief battle with cancer.

A Celebration of Life service will be held in the Spring at a later determined date. There will be a private ceremony of interment at the Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis.

Murph was born on the family farm in Bourbon, MO where he was raised with his older brother, Dean, and his twin brother, Dale. His uncles were veterinarians and he would follow in their career path. During WWII, at age 17, Murph enlisted in the U.S. Navy serving as a medic on the U.S.S. LST 378, U.S.S. LST 733, and the U.S.S. LST 702. His older brother, Dean, was killed in the battle of Iwo Jima and Murph profoundly felt his loss throughout his life. Murph received an honorable discharge from the Navy on July 26, 1946. Following his service, he attended the University of Missouri, receiving his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1952. From 1952-1954 Murph was employed as an Assistant Professor at the Oklahoma College of Veterinary Medicine in Stillwater at their Large Animal Clinic. He received a training degree in Tropical Veterinary Medicine in 1956 from the Royal Dick Veterinary College in Scotland and his masters in Surgery from Colorado State University, Fort Collins in 1961. From 1954-1982 Murph was employed in various veterinary positions serving as a consultant while living in Ethiopia, and India; in private practice in Oklahoma, and working for the Department of Agriculture, State of Oklahoma.

From 1982-1983 Murph traveled to the Philippines performing and teaching embryo transfer in cattle. After marrying Billie Chapman in 1982, they traveled to Argentina and lived on a private ranch from 1983-1984, where Murph established an embryo transfer center and trained six veterinarians in the process. He served as Technical Director for a private embryo transfer company, American Embryos, in Michigan in 1984-1985. In 1985 Murph and Billie returned to Columbia, MO. Murph served as Associate Professor and Director of MU’s embryo transfer program. He worked closely with his great friend and fellow professor and researcher, Randy Prather, making genetically modified pigs for medical and agricultural research. He was a favorite professor of graduate students and they set up a scholarship fund in his name. In 1995 to his death he served as Assistant Research Professor for MU’s College of Agriculture, continuing his love of teaching and research in the embryo transfer field.

Murph loved visiting with family, telling stories and “Murphyisms”. He was so proud of his son’s internal medicine degree. Murph remained in contact with numerous close friends and colleagues he met during his travels; their calls and visits appreciated especially during his later years.

Murph received numerous honors and awards during his lifetime, including 1992 Honor Roll Member; AMVA and Honorary Life Membership in the International Embryo Transfer Society; 2002 Honorary Life Membership in the American Embryo Transfer Association; and 2006 Livestock Person of the Year, University of Missouri.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Clifton Murphy and Betty R. (Page) Murphy; his older brother, Dean Murphy; his twin brother, C. Dale Murphy; and his son, Clifton Charles Murphy.

He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Billie (Chapman) Murphy; sister-in-law Emma Murphy; a niece, Debra (Larry) Young; a nephew, Doug (Kelly) Murphy; step-children Jeanine (Dave) Bequette, Kent (Marti) Chapman, Rene Barton, and Michelle (Greg) Kueck; 7 step grandchildren, 2 great-nephews, and one great-niece.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be given to the Clifton N. Murphy Scholarship Fund in Animal Reproduction at the University of Missouri, CAFNR Office of Advancement, 2-4 Agriculture Building, Columbia, MO 65211. Donations may also be made online at and designate the Clifton Murphy Fund.


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Clifton Neal Murphy

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Char Farin

January 14, 2020

Billie, I'm so sorry for your loss. Murph was such a wonderful friend and mentor to both Peter and myself. Murph was the one who took Peter under his wing and taught him how to do embryo transfer during his therio residency in Columbia. Those wonderful years altered the paths of our lives forever. We always loved that Murph was able to speak his mind in a way that was both serious and funny at the same time. He was a great colleague and will be sorely missed.

Bruce and Kathleen Maier

January 10, 2020

We are so very sorry to hear of Murph's passing. We always enjoyed visiting with Billie and Murph as you were always an awesome and enjoyable couple. Our hearts are with you Billie and will always wish you only the best.

Brad Stroud

January 9, 2020

Every week Murph would call me and ask how I was doing. Most of his calls were about new technology - he would have a new idea and wanted to run it by me. His energy and passion for embryo transfer was evident. He was a great man. It broke my heart to find out about his passing. I truly loved him. He was one-of-a-kind. He will be missed. His service to our country in WWII must not be forgotten.

Peter Hansen

January 6, 2020

I have such fond memories of Cliff - a larger-than-life man who displayed such a zest for life. He touched many people in his life and will be missed.

Roger Davis DVM

January 6, 2020

I met Dr. Murphy at IETS and AETA CETA meeting. Great man who helped advance the ET business.
I would say hello and tell him it was "good to see you" and he quickly replied "it's good to be seen".
Rest in peace.