Every morning for the last seven years, Kevin Murphy walked down the stairs on the Noroton Heights train platform just as Paul Steinborn walked up to the train. They greeted each other and talked about their kids; they had known each other for 20 years and their children grew up together.
"He's a guy who always had a smile on his face, he was always happy to see you," Steinborn said.
The two Darien men were train buddies, always sitting near each other on the way into the city for work. Over time, routines started to form and Steinborn recounts Murphy driving into the train lot every morning in his white BMW and parking behind him.
Often times they would talk of Murphy's five children -- Cameron, Haley, Kevin Jr. ("Kip"), Kendall and Tim -- and how excited Murphy was that Steinborn's second-oldest child, Ed, was living near Cameron in New York City.
Murphy, 55, died Monday, March 4, after he was struck by the 5:38 a.m. train out of New Haven. Metro North officials have no reason to suspect foul play, said spokesman Aaron Donovan, but details still shed no light onto what happened on the platform Murphy stood on every day for years.
"You can really tell a lot about a man by his tennis game," VanderHorn said in an email to the Darien News. He said Murphy always showed up the matches in hurry, excited and ready to play.
"Any men's team player could recall him yelling `MURPH' at himself when he made what he considered a big error," VanderHorn said. "He loved to win, but was also a gracious loser."
VanderHorn recounts conversations of tennis and news and family.
"He loved nothing more than to partner with his son Kip or his wonderful wife Jamey," VanderHorn said. "He was a good friend, a team player and a loving husband and father."
On weekends, Murphy attended mass at St. Thomas More in Darien.
"Kevin Murphy will be remembered as a man of tremendous faith, great love for his family and enthusiasm for life," said the Rev. Paul Murphy, pastor at St. Thomas More Parish. Rev. Murphy, who shares no relation with Kevin Murphy, is the homilist for the Mass of Murphy's Christian burial.
Rev. Murphy said Kevin taught religious education and "he was always quick to volunteer as parishioner."
"Those closest to him knew him as a man of prayer who attended Mass every Sunday and got down on his knees in the evening and prayed before going to sleep," Rev. Murphy said.
Murphy was a managing director at Brooks, Houghton & Company, a New York-based merchant bank.
"He was a person who worked tirelessly and was a pleasure to be around on a daily basis," said John Y. Freeman, the bank senior managing director, in an email to the Darien News.
Murphy worked at the bank since 2008. He had more than 30 years experience in the finance sector, including positions as managing director of Dominick & Dominick LLC and as a senior vice president of General Electric Capital Corporation.
"We feel a tremendous loss at Brooks Houghton from this tragic accident that took Kevin from us in his prime," Freeman continued. "He was the consummate professional and an important resource to his many clients. Kevin leaves a tremendous legacy with his outstanding family and his many friends and respected relationships."
In his obituary, he is described as "an avid history buff, reading and recounting stories of the Revolutionary and Civil wars."
"There was never a frown on his face," Steinborn said. "He was a solid good guy."
Murphy and Steinborn's daily ritual ended in September when Steinborn started a new job and started taking an earlier train.
Murphy received his bachelor's degree from Yale University and a Master of Management from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. As a result, he was also a member of the Yale Club, a private club for Yale alumni, faculty and graduate students.
"We are saddened by the tragic and unexpected loss of our devoted member, Kevin Murphy," said John Musto, Yale Club president. "Mr. Murphy was a vibrant part of our community and will be missed by many at the club. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and loved ones."
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Thomas More Church, 374 Middlesex Road, on Friday, March 8 at 10:30 a.m.