Friday, January 11, 2019

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Community bids farewell to local hero

Maj. Brohpy's family is escorted from the civic center by a Marine honor guard
as local officials follow

POUGHKEEPSIE – United States Marine Corps Major James Brophy was laid to rest Friday in Poughkeepsie. The Staatsburg resident perished in what has been described as an 'aviation mishap' during a training mission over the Sea of Japan on December 6. In addition to Brophy, five additional Marines were killed in the accident.

At a service at the Nesheiwat Convention Center, a crowd of more than 400 family and friends joined with military and emergency services personnel listened as Major Brophy was eulogized. His childhood friend Peter Matranga joined Lieutenant Colonel Mitchell Maury, Brophy's commanding officer, and Major Mark Bock a friend made while they served in the Marine Corps.

Lt. Colonel Maury led the eulogies saying that Brophy "was a husband, a father, a son, a brother and a friend." Maury cited Brophy's professionalism, leadership, his laughter, and his smile when recalling the fond memories he had of his fellow Marine. According to Maury, the late major had the ability to bring out the best in his Marines. He recounted receiving what he describes as "a call that will stay with me forever" at 2:14 in the morning on December 6 informing him of the accident. "I kept waiting to hear 'Exercise, exercise, exercise' in hopes that it was only a drill, but it was not. The shock still resonates with me today."

Major Mark Bock spoke of how much he cherished the friendship that had grown between him and Brophy while gently wiping tears from his eyes.

The teary-eyed Major recounted how quickly Brophy had become one of his best friends while being stationed together at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, NC where Brophy was training to fly the large KC-130J aircraft. "James was a phenomenal Marine and a phenomenal father," said Bock.

Citing Brophy's constant smile, he told of two rare instances when he didn't see the smile. The first was when they were staying at a hotel and while getting dressed for an event, Brophy noted that the hotel water had ruined a shirt that his wife Erica had given him. The second was when a group of them went fishing, a passion of Brophy's and "Broph" became seasick.

Brophy's lifelong friend Peter Matragana spoke of growing up with the future Marine and how, even at a young age, Brophy was always challenging those around him and pushing them to do better. Matranga recounted how, growing up together, they shared many milestones including learning to play catch, fish and play golf. "James was the only one that caught a fish at my fifth-grade birthday party - something I still hold against him" said his friend, bringing a brief laugh from the otherwise somber crowd.

Major Brophy is survived by his wife Erica, 4-year-old son Jack and 1-year-old daughter Avery along with his sister Lauren and parents Mike and Virginia Brophy. The major's father recently retired as a captain with the City of Poughkeepsie Fire Department where he bravely served for more than four decades.

In a statement released by the family, Major Brophy is described as "a loving husband who provided endless energy to his children; often seen pulling them in a wagon around the neighborhood and playing soccer until sundown. When home, his daughter was always in his arms. His family will remember him as adventurous, humble, caring and always adorned with a contagious smile."

Major James Brophy was escorted to the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery by a procession of police motorcycles from Poughkeepsie PD, including Chief Tom Pape, Dutchess County Sheriff's Office, Westchester PD, Yonkers PD and NYPD.

 

 


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