MOBILE, Ala. (WALA)-- For more than 90 years Magnolia Cemetery on Virginia Street has been the resting place for two Mobile police officers killed in the line of duty in the 1920’s.

“We’re honoring two men that made the ultimate sacrifice, laying down their lives and serving this community,” said Mobile police Chief Lawrence Battiste.

For nearly a century the graves of officers Christopher Dean and William Franklin “Happy” Murphy have gone unmarked until now.

On October 16, 2020 Mobile Police held a dedication ceremony to honor the men and place their grave markers.

“This is something I’ve been wanting to do for like 30 years and it just means so much to me and I’m so happy it’s finally getting done because it’s so well deserved,” said Colleen White, Dean’s great granddaughter.

For Murphy it comes just two days before the anniversary of his death on October 18, 1929.

Mobile police say he was shot after stopping a speeding car on Broad Street near Conti.

Dean was shot and killed three years earlier on January 22, 1926 while checking on four suspicious men on his patrol. 

All those years ago, neither of the officers' families were able to afford grave markers for the men.

Thanks to an organization called “Family of the Fallen”, Pine Crest Funeral Home donated the markers and Magnolia Cemetery waved the fee to install them.

“We’re surely honored to be here today… my father told me stories of how happy a person he was, how great a person he was and what he did for the community,” said John Murphy, Murphy’s nephew.

While remembering their lost loved ones this starts a new beginning for some of the officers’ descendents who’d never known they were related.


All content © 2020, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.

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