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Mrs. Velna Murphy of Columbia, MD, and formerly of East Greenwich, RI, passed away at the age of 92 on Wednesday, 16 May, at in-home hospice in the company of family. Velna Murphy was the widow of Timothy Murphy, also from Rhode Island, to whom she was married for 56 years. Born in 1925 in Coventry, RI, as Velna Claire Martin to Leonidas and Aldea Martin, she was a devoted daughter and sibling to brother Aldege and sister Yvonne before marrying and moving to East Greenwich in 1959 and later to Columbia in 1993.
Her professional life spanned years of service in the East Greenwich school system before moving on to the University of Rhode Island in 1968. She flourished in her career at URI, receiving countless plaudits from University officials to include the Vice President of Academic Affairs whom she served directly in her final years before retirement in 1986. Her contributions to faculty and students in support of academic initiatives and achievements were commended throughout her years of distinguished service.
In her personal time, she excelled as the family historian, expertly tracing and recording the genealogy of her French ancestry. Her creativity was boundless as she created beautiful artwork and handcrafted treasures for her descendants to cherish. She had a passion for entertaining, ensuring her guests enjoyed elegant dining experiences to mark all special occasions. She was a devoted Catholic parishioner of Our Lady of Mercy in East Greenwich and St. John the Evangelist in Columbia and was dedicated to helping those in need.
A beloved daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother, she leaves behind an enduring legacy of selflessness, sacrifice and gentility for her three children -- Brian Murphy, Patricia Philip and Sharon Garcia, her four grandchildren -- Sean Murphy, Megan Ripple, Jeffrey Murphy and Melanie Stirewalt, her six great grandchildren and those yet to come.
Velna Murphy's generous spirit and kindness will be remembered always by all whose lives she touched. Her remains will be interred with her husband at the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery in August. Details of the service will be provided to friends and family members. For those who may wish to make a donation in lieu of flowers for the service, they may do so in her memory to the American-French Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 830, Woonsocket, RI, 02895.