In addition, he was a Mr. Fix-It who could repair anything mechanical, from cars to a hot water heater, and was always available when a friend or family member needed his help.
"He could build your house, fix your car and cook your dinner — while you waited," said longtime friend George Sumner.
William Joseph Dunphy Jr., a Grays Ferry kid born and raised, a maintenance technician for Neumann-Goretti High School for more than 20 years, a collector of classic cars and a DJ who took his music throughout the city and the Wildwood, N.J., area, died June 10 of complications of a fall at his home in Mount Royal, N.J. He would have been 51 Tuesday.
Phelan Dean, owner of Dean's Bar at 29th and Tasker streets, where Billy often presided over the music, said on learning of Billy's death, "It was the day the music died in Grays Ferry."
"He was the music man," said Dean, who was in kindergarten at St. Gabriel's with Billy. "He was a great guy, one in a million."
Billy Dunphy, Phelan Dean, and brothers George and Harvey Sumner were among a night-knit group of pals who grew up in Grays Ferry, attended St. Gabriel's Parochial School and always hung out together.
"He loved to play music," said his wife, the former Rose Hall. "He knew what to play, when to play. He made everbody comfortable. When someone he knew would come into a bar, he'd call out his name in welcome. His favorite expression was ‘Supa!' which he'd yell out several times a night."
Billy certainly was the most happy fella if there ever was one. "I never met a happier man," Rose said. "He was happy, happy, happy. I never heard him complain."
A favorite pastime was collecting classic cars. He had six classic cars at his death, including a '64 Ford T-Bird, a '65 Cadillac Convertible, a '78 Cadillac Seville, a '92 BMW, and two older cars that had belonged to his grandfather.
Billy was born in Grays Ferry to William and Blanche Dunphy. He attended Bishop Neumann High School, which became St. John Neumann and then Neumann-Goretti. He held a number of jobs before he started working for his alma mater.
Harvey Sumner said Billy always "lit up the room. He could bring people together."
Billy and Rose met when he was playing her uncle's bar, Ollie's Pub, in North Wildwood, and she was an 18-year-old waitress. They were married Nov. 1, 2002.
Besides his wife, he is survived by a brother, Charles Dunphy.
Services: Funeral Mass 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. Gabriel's Church, 2917 Dickinson St. Friends may call at 5 p.m. Monday and 8 a.m Tuesday at the church. Burial will be in Ss. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Marple. n