Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Steve Huffman
Salisbury Post
Valerie Brown said her son, Jonathan Alexander Murphy, came about as close to being a perfect child as a parent could hope for.
“He was a good guy,” she said. “He was never in any kind of trouble.”
Murphy, 24, a senior at Livingstone College, was killed in a single-car accident Friday afternoon on Interstate 85 in north Georgia. He was returning to Salisbury after visiting his mother, who lives near Duluth, Ga.
According to a report on www.AccessNorthGa.com, Murphy was traveling north on I-85 at a high rate of speed when he lost control of his 1998 Mazda Millenia. The vehicle left the roadway and traveled more than 400 feet, overturning three times before coming to rest in an embankment.
He was transported to Cobb Memorial Hospital in Royston, Ga., where he was pronounced dead.
The accident site is in Franklin County, Ga., close to Commerce.
Murphy’s mother said he was majoring in Computer Information Systems at Livingstone and was to graduate in May. He was a graduate of Duluth High School, where his mother teaches special education.
Brown said her son was a big young man, standing about 6-foot-3.
“He loved computers,” Brown said. “He loved his music, any kind of music.”
She said Murphy opted to attend Livingstone largely because of a number of relatives in North Carolina. They are spread across much of the state, Brown said, living in Concord, Fayetteville and Asheville.
Murphy’s parents are divorced and his father, Alexander Murphy, lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C.
Alexander Murphy agreed that his son never presented anything resembling a problem. He was polite and a hard worker, his father said.
“He was an ideal young man and I’m not saying that because I’m his pop,” Murphy said.
He said the last time he spoke to his son was Friday morning as he was preparing for his return to Salisbury.
“He said, ‘I love you, Dad, I’ll call you when I get to Salisbury,’ ” Alexander Murphy said.
He said despite the fact that he and Jonathan’s mother are divorced, he and his son remained close. They spoke at least once a week, and he said his son last visited him over the Thanksgiving holidays.
“Most of the time, what he’d say to me was, ‘Hey, Dad, thanks for the money,’ ” Murphy said, managing a chuckle.
“That’s what college kids do,” he continued. “That’s what I did when I was in college.”
Alexander said his son weighed close to 300 pounds at one time, but had dropped to about 215 pounds over the past year or two.
“He was a real good kid,” Alexander Murphy said.
Murphy’s mother said her son was also close to his stepfather, Michael A. Brown, who he frequently called, “Pops.”
Funeral arrangements at Bill Head Funeral Home in Duluth are incomplete.
Contact Steve Huffman at 704-797-4222 or shuffman@salisburypost.com.