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Helen Rosemary Murphy


1928 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Helen Rosemary Murphy Obituary
Helen Rosemary Murphy

Lafayette - Helen Rosemary Murphy, 89, passed away March 26, 2018, at her home in Bradenton, FL. She was born on May 7, 1928, at Home Hospital in Lafayette, IN, the first child of Wilbert Parker "Bill" Simison and Helen Louise (Andrews) Simison. Rosemary graduated from Kentland High School in 1946, attended Purdue University for one year and then transferred to modeling school in Chicago, IL. Upon completion of her modeling studies Rosemary worked with Evans Fur Co. in Chicago then later for Eisenberg's Dress Company, modeling for the wholesale buyers.

In 1948 Rosemary moved to New York City to be near her fiancé, George Murphy, who was stationed in New London, CT with the Navy. Rosemary worked as a secretary for the New York Medical School Admissions Director. On July 24, 1948, Rosemary and George were united in marriage at New York's City Hall and upon George's release from the Navy they returned home to Kentland to raise their family. Over the next 8 years, the family expanded quickly with the additions of 4 sons, then finally a daughter…Steve, Mike, Pat, Jeff and Cindy. The family was a member of the Trinity United Methodist Church in Kentland and Rosemary was a member of Tri Kappa.

In 1960 Rosemary's life took a surprising new direction when she was crowned Mrs. Indiana and earned the opportunity to represent the state in the 1961 Mrs. America contest in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The contest was a full week of competition and the final evening was televised nationally on NBC. Rosemary overcame strep throat and stiff competition from the other 50 contestants and was crowned Mrs. America 1961.

After 15 years of travel, public appearances and opportunities she never dreamed would come her way, and suddenly thrust into the empty nest syndrome, Rosemary felt it was time to find a new adventure. As a dynamic woman that loved golf, tennis, camping and all outdoors activities, Rosemary convinced George it was time to find a new home that offered year-round opportunities to pursue their active interests. In 1978, George and Rosemary purchased a home in Bradenton, Florida, a home that would serve the two of them for the rest of their life. There Rosemary pursued a career in Real Estate and they always seemed to have numerous family and friends nearby.

Rosemary was preceded in death by her husband George on Christmas Eve 1996, her father Bill in April of 1968 and her mother Louise in October 1977. Her only sibling, Joanne Simison Parr, died much too young at the age of 29 leaving behind 3 beautiful girls...Nancy, Pamela and Cathy, who survive. Also surviving Rosemary are her children, Steven (Linda) of Des Moines, IA, Michael (Viviana) of North Port, FL, George Patrick of Monticello, IN, Jeffrey (Lijun) of Atlanta, GA, and Cynthia Wilson of Cortez, FL. Also surviving are her sister-in-law, Joetta Curran Murphy of Conyers, GA, 17 grandchildren, 29 great grandchildren and numerous cousins, nephews and nieces.

A Celebration of Life will be held for Rosemary on Saturday, June 2, 2018, at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Kentland, Indiana, Pastor Clint Fink presiding. Friends may call on the family from 2PM until 4PM CST at the church. The Celebration of Life Service for Rosemary will begin at 4PM. Immediately following the family will hold a private graveside farewell. The family asks that in lieu of flowers gifts may be made in Rosemary's name to the Trinity United Methodist Church, 2775 W 1500 S, Kentland, IN 47951 and/or Tidewell Hospice, 5955 Rand Blvd. Sarasota, FL 34238.
Published in the Journal & Courier from May 18 to May 20, 2018
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