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Martha Redding Murphy

1927 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Martha Redding Murphy Obituary
Murphy, Martha Redding

9/1/27 to 7/1/16

Christian, Wife, Mother,

Grandmother, Sister, Aunt, Advocate

Martha Redding Murphy, daughter of Velma Ruth Redding and Frank Allen Redding, died on July 1, 2016, with her loving family at her bedside. She was born in San Gabriel, California on September 1, 1927.

Martha believed that education and strong reading skills paved the road to better futures for our children and security for our country. She dedicated her life to children and literacy â€" one child at a time. This was the essence, spirit and heart of Martha's personal philosophy and her life's work.

However, this was not the total Martha.

To know Martha was to know a joyful, loving soul â€" a woman with a deep love and devotion for her husband, children, family and friends; a wonderful and compassionate listener; a wise gentle, kind woman who found peace in reading; rejoiced in walking on the beach; delighted in her flower garden; and loved cooking and entertaining. Her remarkable clear blue eyes and sparkling laughter lit up the room, and she will be remembered with so much love.

Martha was a wonderful and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. In recent years, she remarked often how blessed she had been in the gift of her long, happy life â€" focusing always on the good and overlooking life's inevitable challenges. Martha's joyfulness, her optimism for the future and her selfless generosity will be only a part of the loving legacy she leaves to us. We are immensely grateful for her beautiful life.

Martha's commitment to children and literacy began at a very young age. She worked in several renowned libraries beginning in World War II at age 14, first as an aide in the Los Angeles County Library in San Gabriel, California. She stepped in to fill an adult's job because of the many vacancies occasioned by the war. In high school, she worked at The Huntington Art Gallery and Library as an accessioning and research assistant.

During her junior and senior years at Stanford University, she worked as a researcher at The Hoover Institution of War, Revolution and Peace, the famed public policy institute and library. Graduating from Stanford with highest honors, her B.A. degree in Education in hand, Martha's commitment to children and early educational development was firmly in her heart and in her plans.

Martha attended Alhambra High School where she met her sweetheart, Bertram Hugh Murphy. Martha and Bert married during their senior years at Stanford on March 21, 1949 at the Church of Our Savior in San Gabriel. Theirs was a blessed partnership and Martha and Bert spent 64 married years together, enjoying raising their children; building Bert's businesses; dedicating themselves to charities focused on children and education; and pursuing their passion for reading and traveling the world together.

Bert's work in the oil and gas business took them to many towns in California, Texas and New Mexico. In the early 1950s, when Martha arrived as a young teacher in Monahans, Texas, she recognized that many children were rapidly falling behind. With enthusiasm, innovative ideas and courage, Martha stepped in to teach these students, initiating the first remedial reading programs in Monahans for underprivileged children.

Living in Roswell since the early 1960s, Martha contributed her time, resources and insightful advocacy skills to many community organizations central to her concerns and focus. Martha dedicated years of heart and soul to a special place for children in Roswell called Assurance Home. In 1979, this private non-profit organization opened its doors to abused and neglected children. Not long afterwards, Martha began her commitment to Assurance Home with decades of tireless service, energetic fundraising and compassionate vision. At Assurance Home today, a beautiful non-denominational chapel and Celtic garden are among Martha's lasting legacies.

Recently, Martha supported and helped initiate Roswell's new Splash Pad. In keeping with her passion for literacy, she contributed often to the reading program at the Boys & Girls Club.

She was President of the Board of Assurance Home, President and a founding member of Assurance Home Foundation, a member of the boards of Roswell Historical Society and Roswell Historical Society Foundation, and a member of the Roswell Public Library Board and the Roswell Junior Book Club. In addition, she was a member of Delta Gamma Sorority. A lifelong Episcopalian, she was a faithful member of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church.

A woman of natural grace and humility, Martha loved the work but never sought the limelight. However, others recognized her dedication and hard work. Her leadership abilities and that "something special" were recognized early when, upon graduation in her 1945 class of almost 1000 graduates, Martha received Alhambra High School's Outstanding Graduate Award.

Martha was also the recipient of the New Mexico Governor's Distinguished Public Service Lifetime Achievement Award and the New Mexico Governor's Award for Outstanding New Mexico Women. She was awarded Stanford University's Dean of Women Merit Scholarship. She was a nominee for President George H. W. Bush's "Thousand Points of Light" Award, a program that recognized individuals who helped make their communities better places to live. During her decade as a teacher, she received numerous awards for excellence in teaching.

Martha Redding Murphy is survived by her four children and four grandchildren: Laura Elizabeth Murphy of Roswell; Ann Murphy Daily and her husband, William W. Daily of Santa Fe; Mark Bertram Murphy and his wife, Susan Scott Murphy of Roswell, and their children, Haley Winn Murphy and her husband Joshua Heard of Albuquerque, and Meredith Redding Murphy of Austin, TX; and, Matthew Bert Murphy and his wife, Annette Romero Murphy of Roswell, and their children, Jet Romero Murphy of Albuquerque and Jenna Rose Murphy of Roswell; two nephews: Douglas G. Redding and his wife, Jo Anne, of Scottsdale, AZ, and their children, Katherine and James; Richard B. Redding and his wife, Kerry McDonald, and their children, Cooper, Finn and Christian of West Chester, PA; and her faithful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Sam.

She is preceded in death by her beloved husband, Bertram Hugh Murphy, her parents, Velma Ruth Redding and Frank Allen Redding, her sister, Marva Redding, her brother, James F. Redding, and her grandson, Nicholas Murphy Millersmith.

The Murphy family extends its sincere gratitude to the many friends, physicians, medical providers and caregivers who have provided kind and compassionate care to our mother and grandmother during her final illness especially: Julie and Mike Adams, Veronica Avila, Chelsea Bedolla, Dr. David M. Brown, Robyn Ferguson, Amanda Granades, Stephen K. Janway FNP-C, Karen Knecht, Dr. Kenneth Leadingham, Dr. Evan Nelson, Dr. Robert A. Rader, Mr. Charles Shannon and the staff at Primm Drug, and the staff and the caregivers from Gentiva Hospice.

Private family graveside services were held at South Park Cemetery where Martha was interred next to her beloved husband, Bert. Serving as Pall Bearers: Mr. Mark Bertram Murphy, Mr. Matthew Bert Murphy, Mr. Jet Romero Murphy, Mr. William W. Daily, Mr. Joshua Heard & Mr. Richard C. Taylor.

Serving as Honorary Pall Bearers: Mr. Robert H. Beck, Mr. Richard P. Gilbert, Mr. Robert Levisee, Mr. Donald Lewis, Dr. Daniel H. Lopez, Mr. Harry Lott, Mr. Marion Lovett, Mr. Ron Malone, Ms. Jo McInerney, Mr. Roger Noriega, Mr. Douglas G. Redding, Mr. Richard B. Redding and The Honorable Harrison H. "Jack" Schmitt.

Memorial services will be held on Thursday, July 14th at 11:00 am at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church at 505 North Pennsylvania Avenue, Roswell, New Mexico. The family extends its sincere gratitude to the church, its staff and Father Dale Plummer.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation to any of the following:

Assurance Home

1000 East 18th Street

Roswell, New Mexico 88201


Boys & Girls Club of Roswell

201 South Garden Avenue

Roswell, New Mexico 88203

Animal Welfare Alliance

Post Office Box 2762

Roswell, New Mexico


The family would like to express its sincere gratitude to Ballard Funeral Home, Barringer's Blossom Shop and Accent Flowers for the care, compassion and kindness extended to our entire family.

Funeral arrangements were handled by Ballard's:


Condolences for the family may be sent to:

The Murphy Family

Post Office Box 2164

Roswell, New Mexico


[email protected]

[email protected]
Published in Albuquerque Journal on July 10, 2016
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