After a courageous year and a half battle with cancer, my aunt passed away peacefully in early June. Her beautiful obituary is posted below:
Regina K. Murphy, “Jeannie”, of Hingham, was the daughter of Ralph MacDonald and Sarah Fenton MacDonald, born on June 22, 1951, in Portland, Maine. She was the third of four siblings, including her sister Teresa and her brothers Rick and John. She attended grade school at St. Patrick’s and graduated from Portland High School in 1969.
After high school, Jeannie pursued her passions for teaching and working with children by earning a dual degree in Early Childhood Development and Home Economics from the University of Maine at Farmington.
In 1976, while living in Kingston, MA, friends set up Jeannie with a handsome, young firefighter from the neighborhood named Kevin Murphy. Despite early troubles understanding his thick Dorchester accent, Jeannie soon fell in love and the two were married in 1977.
At Whitman-Hanson and Weymouth High Schools, Jeannie taught preschool classes in the mornings and high school Home Ec. in the afternoon. Jeannie cleverly arranged for her Home Ec. students to partner up with the nursery school children on a one-on-one basis. The experiment was a resounding success: It was an early parenting lesson for the high school students, and an opportunity for some shy youngsters to hang with the big kids. Another special treat was when Kevin would visit class in his full fireman gear. Mrs. Murphy was a pretty cool teacher to have.
Jeannie and Kevin purchased their first home in South Weymouth, MA, and Jeannie joined the local Welcome Wagon. They started a family and had two lovely boys, Eric and Matthew. A German Shepherd was always part of the Murphy home, and over the years Jeannie came to love Jake, Rocco and Samantha very much.
In 1988, Jeannie and Kevin finally settled into their dream home in Hingham. The small blue house on the corner with a wrap around porch gave Jeannie a canvas to create beautiful gardens, and a place to form close friendships with neighbors. The window boxes lining the porch were a local landmark-always brimming with color to signal the seasons and to celebrate the holidays. Nobody did the holidays like Jeannie. At Thanksgiving and Christmas the house was aglow with candles and filled with the aromas of cooking. Opening presents on Christmas morning was always a big event, and stories of great gifts trickled down for decades. Jeannie loved to report that she started buying and hiding Christmas gifts around the house--in August.
When their two sons went away for college, Jeannie returned to Maine with Kevin to spend time in the same cottage that she knew as a child. They quickly re-adapted to the easy-going Maine lifestyle and never looked back. Jeannie loved to watch the sun rise over the ocean in the morning, and to grill with family and friends in the late afternoon. She immersed herself in the community, volunteering with the Ocean Park Association and the Salvation Army – and occasionally judging the local dog dress-up contest. Evenings were spent lounging on the screen porch laughing with family and friends, playing cribbage, or just relaxing with a cool glass of white wine. The soft pink light shining on the porch at night signaled an open invitation for neighbors to stop by for a cocktail and conversation.
Jeannie was a model patient and was endlessly grateful for the wonderful care she received from all of her nurses and doctors. She used her crafting talent to assemble small gifts for them during the holidays, and always greeted the medical staff with a wonderful smile no matter the circumstances.
When she spoke about her own legacy, Jeannie was always proudest of the two wonderful and gracious sons she had raised, and was extremely thankful for the decades of unconditional love she shared with her husband, Kevin. She passed away peacefully and comfortably on the sunny morning of June 8, 2014, with Kevin close by her side. She will be missed by many dear friends and family, and will always be on our minds and in our hearts.
Obituary originally posted here.