By Kaila Braley
Nanci Murphy, former staff associate of fiscal affairs and education student at FSU, died at the age of 60 this past Monday after a brief battle with cancer.
Murphy worked in the Business Office at Framingham State for 39 years before retiring last August to pursue her degree in elementary education and interdisciplinary language arts full time – which she had been working toward for years.
She was student teaching this semester and was set to graduate this spring.
Sherrie Buckley, Murphy’s colleague of 31 years and a close friend, said there are “so many people who loved her. She was a kind, wonderful person.”
She said Murphy is survived by two wonderful brothers, Peter and Tim, and a sister-in-law, Denise. Murphy is also survived by two nieces and a nephew, who “adored her as much as she adored them.”
Buckley said, “Nanci had no fears,” and was very adventurous, remembering the time about 10 years ago, when she and Murphy went on a Mediterranean cruise together, visiting countries such as Italy and Greece.
Buckley recalled going to Ocean Aveenue in Newport, R.I. this past winter break, and spontaneously stopping for wine and lunch while there. She said as they drove around, Murphy told her she saw camels.
Buckley said she was confused, adding that when she turned the car around, they found a number of life-sized camels decorated for the holidays. “That was our last little adventure together.”
Buckley said when she spoke to Murphy last week, she said she “wanted to see her kids,” meaning the second graders in her 5eld study class. “She was very dedicated to Framingham State.”
Murphy’s former roommate and FSU Art Professor, Barbara Milot, said, “I saw how much she loved her classes and enjoyed being with the younger students in those classes. Nanci put her heart and soul into everything that she did at FSU. Her commitment to her education was truly inspiring.”
Terry Thomas, assistant director of media services, and friend of Murphy’s for over 30 years, said, “I can honestly say that her work ethic and dedication were an inspiration – she was the Business Office for me and many others and you could count on her to help you when you needed it most.”
He added, “Her determined and businesslike exterior masked a warm, caring and funny personality that made her a joy to be with.
“She left us too soon and I will miss her ready smile, insightful counsel and true friendship,” Thomas said.
Elaine Beilin, chair of the English department and academic advisor to Murphy, said, “Nanci Murphy was smart, kind, patient and good-humored – qualities that made her a delightful person to know and that would have made her a wonderful elementary teacher.”
She said Murphy had been working full time and taking classes toward her education degree for many years, and added, “I feel so very sad that she passed away before graduating and achieving her dream. I’ll always remember Nanci for her inspiring story of determination, love of learning and desire to teach.”
English Professor Desmond McCarthy said, “Nanci Murphy was warm, kind, funny, wise and dedicated to her colleagues and fellow students at FSU.”
He added, “Her lifelong dream was to be a teacher. I hope she knew that she was a remarkable teacher all along. Her commitment to achieving that goal touched so many lives and inspired everyone who was fortunate to know her.”
Marlene Correia, education professor and Murphy’s other academic advisor, said, “Nanci’s dedication and perseverance in ful5lling her dream of becoming a teacher is nothing short of admirable. For many years, she managed working and being a student at FSU. She was compassionate and spirited. Nanci will truly be missed!”
Education Professor Sandra Gold said, “Eager to learn from her professors and her fellow students, Nanci was an absolute pleasure to have in class.”
Silvy Brookby, education professor, said, “Nanci was not only a delightful student, but a delightful person. ... She was so excited to become a teacher – her enthusiasm was palpable. She had a wonderfully calm presence in the classroom. I know this would have been well received in any school she was a part of. She will be missed.”
Education Professor James Cressey said, “She was a well-loved member of our education department community and her absence will be felt by her fellow student teachers, faculty and sta4, as well as the children and teachers in the schools where she has given her time.”
Chair of the Education Department Kelly Kolodny said, “She had a wonderful presence and brought tremendous wisdom to her studies and experiences with our public school partners.”
Education Professor Julia Zoino-Jeannetti said, “She brought her life experiences into the college classroom, which added to class discussions. We will miss her.”
Sandra Shaw, assistant director of education field placement and licensure, said, “She worked so long and so hard to get to where she was – student teaching in her 5nal semester. She was doing what she loved.”
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Make a Wish Foundation, 4742 N. 24th Street, Suite 400, Phoenix, AZ 85016-4862.
[Editor’s Note: Desmond McCarthy is the advisor for The Gatepost.]