Elsie Rice Murphy passed away June 5, 2021, one week after celebrating her 96th birthday with her children on a beautiful afternoon, a lasting memory for all of us - a memory of a great, happy day for our Mom and a fitting way to say, "Good-bye!"
Mom was born in Salt Lake City to Charles and Sarah (Sadie) Rice on May 28, 1925. She grew up with three brothers and when she was seven, her family moved to Colorado to help her grandparents through their illnesses and working the farm. Life was very hard on the farm but Mom remembered it fondly and it instilled in Elsie a love of family. They played all types of games, including her life-long favorite, bridge. Mom's mother died when she was only 16 and a year later her father, younger brother and Elsie moved to Portland to start anew.
Mom graduated from Oregon College of Education in Monmouth and her first teaching job took her to Eugene, where she met the love of her life, Edward Murphy. Married on June 20, 1948, Mom and Dad had four children and the family enjoyed many camping trips and vacations to the Oregon coast. They were married for 23 years before Ed passed away at the age of 47. She was left to raise the kids, the youngest being only eight years old. Finally, after patiently waiting for nearly 50 years, Ed and Elsie are together once again, spending eternity enjoying each other’s company.
Mom and Dad moved to the Vermont Hills in 1963 and she was a member of St. John Fisher Parish for nearly 60 years. She cherished her friendships formed there to the very end. Elsie taught school for over 20 years and had a lasting impact on her students, who still greeted her when they met her out and about. She taught at Willagillespie Elementary and River Road Elementary in Eugene, Jackson Elementary in Medford and St. Thomas Moore and St. John Fisher in Portland. She loved her time as the 2nd grade teacher at SJF and even taught her own children, Sarah and John! After her teaching career ended in 1976, she returned to school to study bookkeeping then took jobs in a doctor’s office, and for the State of Oregon. She ended her working life by running a daycare in her home for nine years.
After retirement, she spent her days tending to her yard and rose garden, volunteering for the Hayhurst Elementary reading program, Meals on Wheels and a Sewing group called We Care, making layettes for low income newborns, doing all these things when she wasn't playing bridge in a long-standing weekly game with long-time friends. Mom loved to travel, taking her around the USA (Southern California by train, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., Utah and Colorado) and Canada when her kids were young. Later, she traveled to Japan with John, Chiho and her nephew Rick Rice and his family, to Ireland, England, Poland and Prague with SJF friends and then to Italy with Cherry and Sarah.
Elsie loved hosting the holidays or a summer backyard barbeque, any chance to have the entire family gathered on her patio or around the dining room table for a rousing game of cards. Mom will be remembered for her blueberry muffins, potato salad and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and for the love she fostered among her family and friends. She even hosted a number of young women in her spare bedroom, all of whom were lucky to experience her hospitality and warm ways first hand.
As the last of her generation in the extended Murphy family, Mom is survived by her younger brother, Richard Rice (Peggy) of Eugene, her four children Ed (Donna), Tom (Meredith), Sarah (John), John (Chiho) and daughter-in-law Cherry. Grandchildren Brian, Timothy, Patrick, Scott, Paul and Laura, three great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Edward, her grandson Sean, her parents and older brothers, Arthur and Robert.
We would like to thank West Hills Village (her first new home in 50 years and where she played bridge every night until 10:00pm.) Raleigh Hills Assisted Living (for their support when she needed extra help) and Washington Gardens Memory Care (for their round the clock care and respect they showed her.) We also appreciate the love shown Mom by Season Hospice, and her hospice nurse Hardev, and Serenity Home Healthcare.
Her Rosary will be Saturday, July 31 at 11:30 with the funeral mass following at noon at St. John Fisher Catholic Church, 4567 SW Nevada St, Portland, OR 97219.
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