Jill M. Murphy
June 3, 1956 - October 11, 2020
As part of honoring Jill Mary Murphy's lifelong endeavor to use humor to get through difficult situations and always trying to find the bright side of life, the sentiments in this obituary were requested by Jill in the months leading up to her shuffle off this mortal coil.
Jill Mary Murphy was born on June 3, 1956 and welcomed into life by parents Shirley and William Murphy in Midland, Michigan. She left the Earth too soon on October 11, 2020.
Jill attended elementary school at Blessed Sacrament before attending Northeast Intermediate and Midland High School. In high school, Jill avoided biology classes because the work involved "squishy" things and math classes because, "there is no real-world use for calculus." Jill graduated from James Madison College of Michigan State University with the plans to become an attorney. To all out there who paid Jill with either cash or alcohol to proofread and type your term papers, she said, "You are welcome."
After working in Washington D.C. for a short period of time, Jill returned home to work for the State of Michigan for the balance of her career, in both the legislative and executive branches. Remarkably, she worked directly for three sitting governors and officially retired as chief of protocol in 2011. Travels for work took her all over the world, including Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Jill could not believe that she traveled all over the globe meeting government officials and dignitaries but somehow never made it west of the Mississippi River. When a former member of the governor's Michigan State Police detail learned of her passing, he said that Jill was the "LeBron James of government travel." It took a team to pull off a trip with a sitting governor, but you wanted Jill on the trip if you wanted it to go well.
While Jill's career was firmly planted in government, her two passions in life were genealogy and photography. She had an amazing knack to discover mundane and not-so mundane details of her family tree, including an accused Salem witch. And she was fiercely proud of being Irish.
If you have been lucky enough to see her photographs, you know that she had an amazing gift to capture the spirit of animals in her photos. She loved taking photographs of "aminals" (as Jill called them) as long as the animals were not humans or snakes. Jill referred to sloths as her spirit animal and soon realized that taking pictures of sloths was rather challenging because they tend to stay in a ball and sleep most of the day.
Jill is survived by her mother, Shirley Sanburn of Midland; uncle, Gerald "Jerry" and Aunt June Mahony of Bay City; many cousins both in the U.S. and Ireland, and numerous close friends. In addition to human survivors, Jill recently adopted feline son and house panther, Kylo Ren Murphy, who is wondering who is going to feed him as many treats as his mother did.
Jill was preceded in death by her father, William Murphy; stepfather, Robert (Bob) Sanburn; aunt, Peggy Weed; and two feline children, Zhivago and Cricket Murphy.
Services for Jill will be held at Blessed Sacrament Parish, 3109 Swede Road, Midland, Michigan on Friday, October 16, 2020 with visitation from 10-11 a.m. A funeral Mass will begin at 11 a.m. with Father Robert Howe presiding.
Interment will take place at St. Patrick Cemetery and Mausoleum in Bay City.
If you would like to continue Jill's legacy of supporting worthwhile endeavors, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to Hospice of Lansing or the Detroit Zoological Society Endowment Fund. Both agencies exemplified compassion and professionalism in her final days and her family and friends are forever grateful.
A celebration of Jill's life will be held in the Lansing area in the spring. Share memories at www.greastlansing.com