Helen Turner Murphy died on October 17, 2019, at King Copsico Farm, Mount Holly, Virginia, after a long life in which, as she often said, God dealt graciously with her. She was predeceased by her parents, Wilson Hodges and George L. Turner and her son-in-law, Palmer Caton Douglas. She is survived by her husband of 63 years, William Tayloe Murphy, Jr.; her daughter, Anne Carter Braxton Murphy Brumley; her son-in-law, Robert Haywood Brumley III; and four grandchildren: Blake Woodson Douglas, Campbell Grayson Brumley, Robert Haywood Brumley IV, and John Tayloe Lewis Brumley. She is also survived by her sister, Katherine Turner Mears (Mrs. Benjamin W. Mears, Jr.) of Eastville and several nieces and nephews: Benjamin W. Mears III of Eastville, Price Mears Clarke of Virginia Beach, Mariah Nottingham Mears of Irvington, Katherine Braxton Dameron of New York and Miami, Zachariah Courtney Dameron III of Charlottesville, and Tayloe Murphy Dameron of Charles City.
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Mrs. Murphy was born on March 29, 1934, in Richmond and graduated from St. Catherine’s School where she spent 13 years. She was named “June Scholar” in 1952 and in 2012 a “Distinguished Alumna”. She continued her education at Sweet Briar College where she was Chairman of the Judicial Board and a member of Q.V. Tau Phi, (and most proudly) Aints and Asses and Phi Beta Kappa. She graduated magna cum laude.
Mrs. Murphy spent most of her life at her beloved King Copsico Farm in Westmoreland County. She was active in the Episcopal Churches of Cople Parish and served as Senior Warden, member of the Vestry and Altar Guild, and Lay Eucharist Minister.
She was a founding member and former President of The Garden Club of the Northern Neck. She was also President of The Garden Club of Virginia and Chairman of the Restoration Committee. In 2002, The Garden Club of Virginia bestowed on her and her husband its most prestigious award, the Massie Medal.
Mrs. Murphy was a former trustee, or member of the board, of many organizations including the Virginia Historical Society, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, The Menokin Foundation (former President), The Nature Conservancy, Department of Historic Resources, St. Margaret’s School (Tappahannock), Rappahannock Community College (founding board member and recipient of an honorary degree), Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Preservation Alliance of Virginia, and the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. In 1999, she was named Volunteer of the Year by the Central Virginia Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Executives. Mrs. Murphy and her husband received the 2019 Outstanding Virginian Award established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1983.
Her club memberships included: The Country Club of Virginia, the Woman’s Club (Richmond), the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, the Hillsboro Club in Hillsboro Beach, Florida, and the Coral Beach and Tennis Club in Bermuda.
Mrs. Murphy loved her family, her home on the shores of the lower Potomac River, dogs, reading, sailing, Bermuda, UVA basketball, laughing, and lilies which she raised and showed with some success.
Her funeral service will be held on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, at 11 a.m. at Yeocomico Episcopal Church, 1233 Old Yeocomico Road, Kinsale, Virginia 22488, with burial in the church cemetery. A reception will follow in the adjacent Ameslee Hall.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial contribution may be made to The Episcopal Churches of Cople Parish, P. O. Box 249, Kinsale, Virginia 22488; The Menokin Foundation, P.O. Box 1221, Warsaw, Virginia 22572; or The Garden Club of Virginia, 12 East Franklin Street, Richmond, Virginia 2321.9