In Memoriam
Loretta Dickens-Murphy
Loretta Dickens-Murphy
Class of 1957

Loretta Dickens Murphy died on August 15, 2008. She was born March 31, 1939 in West Virginia and graduated from Cradock High School in June 1957.

She married William M. Murphy is August 1961 and they raised eight children in Gordonsville, VA.

Two of her sons, Bill and Steve, were killed in a small plane accident in Colorado in 1998.

Her surviving children are Julie Marie Lewis (Donald) of Chesterfield, VA; Melanie Ann Kriese (Thomas) of California; Sarah Elizabeth Moore (Michael) of Georgia; John Murdock Murphy (Lorrie) of Florida; Michael Andrew Murphy of Colorado; and Timothy Patrick Murphy of Afton, Virginia. Her surviving grandchildren are Joshua, Jonathan, Hannah, Charlotte, Meaghan, Katherine, Jessica, Owen, Travis and Zachary.

Loretta quit work a few years after her first child was born. After high school, she worked for the Staunton News Leader and then the Navy Department in Washington, DC. Her favorite job was as Mom to her eight children and to other children in the neighborhood. The friends of the Murphy family children spent so much time playing at the Murphy house and eating Loretta’s homemade goodies that sometimes it was hard to know how many kids belonged to her.

Loretta was a Baptist but converted to her husband’s Catholic religion. Her favorite music was traditional Celtic (not the typical “Irish “) and old traditional hymns.

Her oldest daughter Julie Lewis said, “The place she loved the most was her home and she loved to read. Our house was full of books and music. We had classic children’s literature and adult classics as we grew up. We were always ahead on the school reading syllabi. We would usually already read the years selections before the grade-level lists were posted. Mom baked daily. Our school lunches were not made with store bought stuff. She baked the bread for our sandwiches, made the meat or cheese spread herself and baked the cookies, sweet rolls, cakes and pies we had for dessert. No wonder the neighborhood kids spent so much time at our house! She also loved to sew. She made most of our school clothes and could mend anything. We would come home to the smell of baking and the whirr of her sewing machine…She was happiest in her home, being a Mom.”

Loretta was buried in West Augusta Cemetery, Deerfield, VA on August 23rd, 2008, on her 47th wedding anniversary. There was a memorial and viewing at Bear Funeral Home in Churchville, VA.