COLUMN–Ken ‘Crazy Legs’ Murphy was one-of-a-kind

Professional curler Glenn Howard, left, meets his idol Ken ‘ Crazy Legs’ Murphy during a curling event in 2018 at Thames Campus Arena in Chatham.

Things are going to be quieter without Ken “Crazy Legs” Murphy around anymore.

Always the life of the party, the Clown Prince of Curling, and full of energy, Ken “Crazy Legs” Murphy died on Nov. 17.

Everyone in Wallaceburg knew Crazy Legs. If he wasn’t curling, he was on the golf course or at the Wallaceburg Adult Activity Centre. You might not always see him right away, but you could hear him as soon as you’re in the same room or vicinity as him.

Murphy was inducted into the Wallaceburg Sports Hall of Fame in 1998 in the Builder category. He was mostly known for his curling exploits, but also known in his home community for his love of Wallaceburg and his outgoing nature.

Anyone whose main inspiration in life is to make everyone around them have fun and smile has lived a good life. He genuinely liked to see people have fun and he worked hard to make sure everyone in his orbit was having a good time and smiling. He considered it his life mission.

I know people who worked with him at the post office, and they said a shift with Crazy Legs was like going to a comedy club for eight hours straight.

One of the first times I saw Crazy Legs was about 20 years ago during a bonspiel in Wallaceburg. He was dancing up a storm, which isn’t unique for a guy with a nickname Crazy Legs. He then proceeded to get on top of a table and keep on dancing. He was in his late 60s at this point. What stood out to me was not that he was dancing on a table, but the crowd didn’t really seem too worried and was pretty calm. Judging by their reaction, it was a common occurrence.

How many people can say they have had an annual bonspiel in their name for four decades? The first Crazy Legs bonspiel was held in 1977 and the 44th annual Crazy Legs bonspiel is scheduled for this March.

The Crazy Legs Bonspiel is one of the most popular bonspiels held in southwestern Ontario. It’s competitive, but known for its party atmosphere.

Murphy, or Crazy Legs to most, was part of the winning 2015 Crazy Legs Bonspiel team at the age of 79.

Although he rarely did it once he passed retirement age, Murphy used to enterain everyone at his bonspiel by jumping on a pair of curling rocks and ride them down the ice. Sometimes he would have props, such as fireworks or flags, during his ride. It should be stated that he had incredible balance.

His legend is well-known in the curling community.

Full disclosure; I’m biased. I’ve known Crazy Legs for about 15 years, we’re good friends and I’ve curled with him many times. If you check the trophy of the Foundation of Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Annual Charity Curling Classic, during the event’s first year in 2012, Crazy Legs was the skip on the winning team and I was the vice. He was 76 years-old at the time and he was probably the best curler on the ice that day.

I’m not sure what heaven is like, but I bet Crazy Legs golfed 18 holes in the morning and is now curling with long-lost friends, telling jokes and being the loudest guy in the rink.

Murphy was living at Trillium Villa Nursing Home, Sarnia for almost the past year and died of complications from dementia.

Murphy was survived by a daughter, daughter-in-law, and two grandsons.

He was was predeceased by a brother Melvin, son Brad and wife Kay.

At his request, there will be no visitation or service. Cremation has taken place.

In keeping with Ken’s love for his hometown/Wallaceburg, donations if desired in his memory, are going to the Sydenham Community Curling Club (Little Rocks Program) or the Wallaceburg Community Centre & Senior Citizen’s Club and can be left at Cavanaugh’s Funeral Home.



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