Madison - Joan 'Joanie' Marie Murphy (née Vandenberg) died on September 21, 2017, in the company and hearts of family and friends, near and far, who loved her dearly and will miss her forever. She had a self-directed, gentle death, dispensing love, gratitude, and fine stories until the very end. Joan was born on March 1, 1926 in Appleton, WI, the youngest of six children of Mary Ann (Garvey) and William Vandenberg. She graduated from Appleton High School in 1945 and took a job at Hardware Mutual Insurance Company in the Zuelke Building on College Ave. in Appleton, eventually becoming a manager in the personnel department. This work, which she loved, also allowed her to help support her widowed mother and older sister, Cullie, who was ill. In 1951, she was introduced to Don (Murph) Murphy, of Milwaukee, the first cousin of her dear friends Jean Ann and Margaret Walsh. They married in 1953 and in 1955 moved to Vilas Ave. in Madison with their infant daughter, Mary Clare. Son, Will, was born in Madison and after several exciting years of living across the street from the Vilas Zoo, they moved to the Westmorland neighborhood and put down roots for the next 60 years.
Joan missed her late husband Murph very much over the past ten years and related many tales of their adventures traveling the "blue highways" of the US and Canada in the old Suburban, camping at Devil's Lake before there were designated campsites, canning peaches in the garage, "summer cousin-camp" at the family home, and a multitude of other fun times. They also enjoyed visiting numerous cities, universities, and federal regulatory agencies for Murph's work. But, above all, they both enjoyed any time with their grandchildren, Quinn, Griff, and Anna, reading great chapter books together, making "cooking" videos, and especially their annual summer week up north. Being with them gave her great pleasure and hope for the future. She couldn't have loved them more, nor been more proud of the adults they have become.
Joan and Murph were always there to support family and friends through good times and hard and helped lighten many loads with their visits, meals, and, of course, tarts.
Joan is survived by her daughter Mary Clare Murphy (Ed Ahrens) and son Will Murphy (Verushka Kelly), grandchildren Quinn Murphy, Griffin Murphy, and Anna Joan Ahrens, cousin, Dan (Patty) Garvey, and many wonderful nieces and nephews and their families.
She was preceded in death by her husband Murph, her parents, siblings Adele (Arlo) Callahan, Elmo/Bud, Margaret (Sam) Terrio, Emmett (Mary Ann), and Cullie/Mary Clare, and Murph's parents, Martin and Evelyn, his sisters, Patricia Mulgrew, Kay (Allan) Kudeck, Carol (Stan) Beranek, and Betty (Richard) Metz, many cousins, twelve nieces and nephews and four great nephews.
Joan's family wishes to extend a special thank you to Dr. Roy Kim of the Dean Clinic and Dr. Michael Goldrosen of Associated Physicians and their staffs for years of excellent medical care, compassion, and good humor and special friends/guardian angels Elaine and Dolores for their day-to-day presence in Joan's life. Thank you to Kristopher and Kristen for being very special "lights" in her life, and to the "Core" for laughs and love. Thank you to Mary, Ken, Jake, Huimin, Chris, Sophie, Julann, Guy, Gillian, Soren, Ruth, Helen, Karen W. and Lisa for being such wonderful Madison neighbors and to Mary Lou, Dennis and Jeffrey, and Barb and Bob and family for being the finest East Coast "neighbors". Thanks to all of our cousins- you were all special to Mom and are to us and we look forward to keeping up the family connections. Thank you to the superb GI physicians of Dean Clinic, hospitalist Dr. Indira Miryala, the staff of St. Marys 4SW, and Agrace Hospice Purple Team for their compassionate and excellent care over the past few years. Thank you to everyone who brightened Joan's life with a phone call, card, visit, or a kind thought or prayer. You just know she appreciated every one of you.
When the Agrace Hospice team, in a lighthearted conversation, asked Mom what she wished for and she said, "I'd like to go to heaven", we couldn't help but burst out laughing. Um, Mom, you had that in the bag, probably when you were about 11.
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, October 21 at 11:30 am, at the Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison.
In lieu of flowers, Joan requested that if you wish to direct a donation in her memory, you would consider the One City Early Learning Center in Madison, or a local charity of your choice.
One City Early Learning Centers
2012 Fisher Street
Madison, WI 53713
Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road, Madison
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