Dorothy Murphy was a loving, loyal woman who cared deeply for those she loved. She traveled the world in support of her husband and her children. Dorothy was born on September 12, 1915, in Gladstone, MI, the daughter of John and Josephine (Potvin) Broeckaert. Dorothy was the middle of three children.
Her father worked for the Soo Line Railroad Company, while her mother raised the children in the family home. Times were lean in Gladstone in those days, but the family had fun anyway. There was always lots of fishing, including ice fishing, and blueberry picking. In the summertime, the family and extended family did lots of camping together, with huge canvas tent camps set up all summer long.
Dorothy attended Gladstone High School and graduated in 1933. The best part of high school for Dorothy was following her sweetheart, Ed Murphy, in his various sports. She and Ed fell in love early in life, dating from the ninth grade on, all the way through high school, and forming a lifelong bond that would never be broken. After they graduated, Ed went to Marquette University on a football scholarship for two years before joining the U.S. Navy as a pilot. Meanwhile, Dorothy worked as a telephone operator.
The happy couple married on August 6, 1938, at her parent’s home, before his job with the military shipped the two of them all over the world. Ed served in Corpus Christi, TX; Pensacola, FL; Philadelphia, PA; San Diego, CA; Washington, DC; Newfoundland, Canada; Glenview, IL; and Kodiak, Alaska, before returning home to Gladstone as a retired naval captain. While many women might object to being taken from one corner of the globe to the other, Dorothy loved their travels together. They both enjoyed the military lifestyle very much. Dorothy was always a supportive, open-minded person, and made friends easily wherever she went. She and Ed kept close contact with many of their Navy friends over the years.
Their world travels didn’t hinder them from raising a family. They welcomed their first son, Jim, who was born in 1947 while they were stationed in Philadelphia. John was their second son, born in Coronado, CA, in 1949. In 1953 Bill was born while they were in Newfoundland, Canada. Finally, Scott was born in 1960 in Gladstone.
Dorothy was a wonderful and supportive mother. She attended all of the boys’ various sporting events and other activities. In the summertime, the family would head up to her parents’ cottage on the Stonington Peninsula, across Little Bay De-Noc. Grandma and Grandpa’s cottage was a favorite gathering place for the entire clan.
After Ed retired he worked as a woodsman, a foreman in a factory, and in a furniture store. Ed kept very busy until he was 59, when an aneurysm near his heart caused him medical problems. After his recovery, Ed and Dorothy began to travel to visit their sons, who were grown and on their own. Given their childhoods, the Murphy boys didn’t stick too close to Gladstone. Dorothy and Ed visited John, now in the Navy himself, at his posts in Greece, Italy, and Germany. Their travels also took them to Florida, New York, Wisconsin, and Lower Michigan as they visited their sons, friends, and other family members.
Dorothy also enjoyed quiet times at home, where she had many hobbies. Her gardens grew delicious
vegetables, raspberries, and beautiful flowers. She and Ed built a home on Little Bay de Noc in the early 70’s. She also loved knitting and making crafts. Her creations were often given as gifts and used for decorations. She belonged to many card clubs over the years. She loved to play bridge and whist. Dorothy bowled for many years with close friends in the Gladstone women’s league. She enjoyed watching all sports on television and going to her grandchildren’s school and sporting events. Dorothy was an animal and bird lover. She spent many hours watching and feeding birds and deer near her homes. Dorothy was often found in the kitchen preparing big meals for her family. Thanksgiving dinners were especially delicious! She enjoyed having family gather for special events. The holiday spirit was evident in Dorothy’s home as she used her homemade crafts and greenery from the outdoors to decorate at Christmas time.
Sadly, her beloved Edward died in 1996, after 58 years of marriage. Dorothy continued to be active in card groups, visiting her children, watching sports, and making craft projects until May 2005. Then Dorothy suffered a stroke, causing her to leave the Gladstone area and move to Kalamazoo to be near her son, Bill, and his family. While in Kalamazoo, she attended many of her grandson’s football and basketball games, which were important to her. The Hackett High School basketball coach even gave her a sweatshirt reading “#1 Fan.” The whole team loved having Dorothy at the games and gave her high fives as she sat near the bench. Dorothy’s kindness and love touched many people. This special person will be remembered and loved by her family forever.
Dorothy Murphy, age 90, of Gladstone, MI, died January 24, 2006, in Kalamazoo. She was born September 12, 1915, in Gladstone, MI, the daughter of John and Josephine (Potvin) Broeckaert. She was preceded death by her husband Edward James Murphy in 1996 and by two brothers: an infant brother and by Kenneth Broeckaert.
Members of Dorothy’s family include her four sons: James (Marilyn) Murphy of Madison, WI; John
(Fortunata) Murphy of Orange Park, FL; William (Mary Ellen) Murphy of Kalamazoo; Scott (Roxanne) Murphy of Theresa, NY; ten grandchildren: Hudson, Brandon, Deni, Nadia Jo, Kevin, Michael, Jaclyn, James, Michelle and Allison; sister Annetta Dunn of Port Huron and many nieces and nephews.