Joanna J. Murphy, a long-time La Jolla resident and a familiar figure in downtown shops and restaurants, passed away September 27, 2012, at the age of 96.|
Mrs. Murphy, who was born in New York's Greenwich Village on April 8, 1916, spent much of the past three decades residing on Eads Avenue, Paseo del Ocaso and Chateau La Jolla. She moved to Las Villas del Norte, a retirement community, in Escondido last year and passed away there after a months-long illness.
Mrs. Murphy's colorful life began in Manhattan as Joanna Janice Wirska. There she graduated from Washington Irving High School, received her RN degree at St. Mary's School of Nursing in Brooklyn and also attended St. John's University.
She married Edmond G. Murphy at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Brooklyn on April 14, 1942. When her husband went to war as a lieutenant commander on the USN Saratoga, Mrs. Murphy served as a Veteran's Administration nurse from 1942-44 in Chillicothe, Ohio, San Francisco and Palo Alto. As the war ended, the couple lived in Coronado, falling in love with the beauty of San Diego County and welcoming their first child.
After the war, the Murphy's settled on Long Island and raised four children. Mrs. Murphy pursued hobbies in painting and gardening while her husband worked in finance, rising to president of the Lincoln Savings Bank in Brooklyn. Intent on retiring in California, they bought a home in Coronado in 1969, but Mr. Murphy passed away in 1971.
Over the next 41 years, Mrs. Murphy moved from New York to Coronado, La Jolla, Elkhart, IN, Seattle, Lake Forest, IL; and Rhinebeck, NY, to be near her children, but kept returning to her beloved La Jolla. She enjoyed shopping and dining in the village, often calling her children to share details of a rare find or a great meal. She will be remembered by her neighbors at Chateau La Jolla for her friendly smile and stylish attire.
Mrs. Murphy is survived by two daughters, Joan I. Caine of Seattle and Barbara J. Petersen of San Diego; two sons, Edmond G. Murphy Jr. of Poughkeepsie, NY, and Thomas J. Murphy of Larkspur, CA; six grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; sister, Leona; niece, Terry; and nephews, John, Theodore and Richard. Her sister, Teresa, preceded her in death.
The family is planning private services and asks friends to honor her memory with a donation to
Published in La Jolla Light on Oct. 11, 2012