Erika Murphy shared stories of her husband, Mike, who she characterizes as humble and a great pilot, person, father, son and brother.
Helicopter pilot Michael (Mike) Murphy died May 25 when his Eurocopter EC135 crashed at a Delaware industrial park while conducting approach training at New Castle Airport.
Murphy, 37, flew PennStar medical helicopters for the University of Pennsylvania Health System and other entities, as well as serving as a backup pilot for NBC10’s SkyForce10.
"He never bragged about being a great pilot but he was a great pilot," Erika said.
Erika, who is pregnant with their second son, spoke to NBC10 Thursday as she prepared to lay her husband to rest Friday.
Besides flying and family, she said Mike liked exercising, the outdoors, their family dog and country music — Jamey is named after country singer Jamey Johnson.
"Michael didn't have the best rhythm," Erika said, but that didn’t stop him from dancing with his son, including the night before he died.
The couple met in January 2010, even though Erika had worked with Mike's mother in the Winslow Township School District for years. He took her on a chopper ride on their third date.
"That's when I think I knew, I think he's a keeper… that's a pretty cool date," Erika said. "No other guy could have had a cooler date than that one."
At the time Mike was a flight instructor at Flying W in Medford, New Jersey. First a truck driver, he began flying years earlier after a friend took him up in a chopper.
"He loved flying," Erika said. "He wanted to train Jamey to fly."
Mike worked all over the place but there was one week he would always take off — when his family went to Ocean City each summer.
"He would have done anything for me and Jamey," Erika said. "That's why he worked so much."
"He was a wonderful man, a wonderful father son and brother," she added "He would have done anything for anyone whether he knew you or not."
Visiting hours will be held for Murphy on Friday from 9 a.m. to noon at Christ the Redeemer Parish/Assumption Church on 318 Carl Hasselhan Drive in Atco, New Jersey. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Murphy children's college fund. Please make checks out to Erika Murphy, c/o LeRoy P. Wooster Funeral Home & Crematory, 441 White Horse Pike, Atco, NJ 08004.
A GoFundMe campaign for the familyhad raised more than $40,000 Thursday afternoon.
Family friend Jordan Wolochow of Jordan Brian Photography in Mount Laurel, New Jersey is also offering family portrait sessions on Saturday, June 17 for $50 each, with proceeds going to Murphy’s family.
The cause of the crash that killed Mike remains under investigation.