March 17, 2010

OBITUARIESLois Murphy, 53, guidance counselor, dedicated advocate for kids

— YARMOUTH — Lois Murphy, a guidance counselor at Falmouth Middle School for the past 23 years and the owner of an impressive collection of pink flamingoes, died Wednesday. She was 53.

Mrs. Murphy began working in student services in 1985. She was remembered by her colleagues Thursday as a compassionate and dedicated person who worked tirelessly to keep young people from falling though the cracks.

''She had a work ethic that made the rest of us pale in comparison,'' said Lesley Fitzgerald, a close friend and former colleague.

''She was always there for the children, advocating for them with other teachers. The time she spent with students helped them to feel better about themselves.''

Principal Jeff Rodman said Mrs. Murphy was a supportive guidance counselor, a great listener and a dear friend.

''Lois was my confidant,'' he said. ''She was the person I went to when I needed to vent, and I always came back feeling better.''

In 1984, she married Kenneth Murphy. They met at a school in New Hampshire, where he was the assistant principal and she was a guidance counselor.

''She was my best friend,'' he said. ''We did a ton of stuff together. We always had fun, and she was always up for new experiences. She wasn't a golfer, but we went to the Masters five times and she fell in love with it.''

Mrs. Murphy had a close relationship with her son and stepdaughter. Her husband said she was a supportive mother and a strong influence in their lives.

''She had such a special influence on my daughter. She loved watching Tim do what he was passionate about, like snowboarding and soccer. Most of our weekends were focused on his competitive interests,'' her husband said.

Mrs. Murphy had an affinity for pink flamingoes. They adorned her garden and her office and had their own room at her home, ''the pink room.''

Her husband said her collection started as a family joke. One year, a pink flamingo was positioned in her yard. The next year, it went to someone else, Kenneth Murphy said.

''She found it enjoyable,'' he said, noting that her collection was mostly tasteful. ''She had so much stuff that we had to make a rule that if she bought a new one, some thing had to go.''

Mrs. Murphy had battled lung cancer for the past 18 months. Her husband said she maintained a cheerful, confident outlook. ''She believed that she was going to beat it,'' he said.

-- Melanie Creamer PASSAGES

Each day the newsroom selects one obituary and seeks to learn more about the life of a person who has lived and worked in Maine. We look for a person who has made a mark on the community or the person's family and friends in lasting ways.

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