Bernice Emma (Burkhardt) Murphy, 94, of Farmington, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on Sunday, June 3, 2018 at her home. She was the wife of the late Donald J. Murphy who passed in November 2017. They were married on June 10, 1950.
Bernice was born on November 23, 1923 in Lawrence, MA the daughter of the late Oscar and Minnie (Witzmann) Burkhardt. She often introduced herself as “Bernice the furnace – Hot Stuff” so people would know how to pronounce her name. She was an only child and attended German school later graduating from Lawrence High School in Lawrence, MA. She worked making clothes and shoes and later attended Hair Dressing School.
After she and Don married and after their daughter Joyce was born, they moved to Mystic, CT. As Don’s career progressed they also lived in Enfield and Guilford, CT, Toledo, OH and Gainesville, GA. She stopped working to raise her 3 children and later worked at Hallmark in Enfield during the Christmas busy time which started her bookkeeping career; first at W. T. Grant and then Merriam Manufacturing in Durham, CT after they moved to Guilford. She retired in 1981 when they moved to Toledo.
After Don retired in 1989 they moved to Ocala, FL where they spent 18 years before moving back to CT. Bernice converted to Catholicism before their marriage and they were devout Catholics, attending church every Sunday. On vacations they would find local churches to visit for Mass.
Her Aunt Hannah taught her how to knit when she was 9 years old. She passed this on to Joyce and Patti and continued to knit until a few months ago. She made several afghans and even some clothes for her grandchildren. Joyce and Patti remember going with her to the mill stores in Lawrence and Manchester to purchase fabric to sew clothing. She also enjoyed needlepoint and using plastic canvas, making rosaries and most recently bookmarks. Bernice was a good and varied cook and her family enjoyed many of her meals, including Swedish Meatballs, Crispy Chicken cutlets and Sweet and Sour Meatloaf.
She loved carousel horses, dogs and birds and had a profound sense of humor, subjecting anyone that would listen to her latest joke, sometimes over and over. She and Don played golf and attended many college basketball games, where she may have been the loudest fan in the stands at times. Even watching basketball and golf on TV she had a lot to say. They also enjoyed going to plays, shows and concerts. They loved to travel and visited all 50 states and several countries.
Finally, her favorite times were spent with family at “camp” on Little Island Pond in New Hampshire. A cottage her father had built in 1914, which is still enjoyed by their family. Don did many renovation projects over the years, sometimes with her help, all in preparation for them to be able to spend summers there when they retired. She and Don made many friends there.
Predeceased by her husband Donald of 67 years, she is survived by their 3 children; Joyce (Norman) Bechard, Patricia (Gerry) Mezzi and Michael Murphy; 7 grandchildren, Breanne (Michael) Sufrin, Nicole (Dan) Sawran, Norman (Samantha) Bechard III, Kyle (Sinead) Mezzi, Brian (Hilary) Mezzi, Stephanie (Johnathan) Park and Ashton Murphy; 6 great grandchildren, Kyle Bechard, Sydney Bechard, Hannah Sufrin, Ayden Park, Andrew Sufrin, Kia Park and her 7th is due in July. She also leaves nieces and nephews in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Delaware and Tennessee and her exceptional care giver, Euda.
The family would like to thank the staff of Brookdale Farmington, Touchpoints, Village Gate and UNCONN Health for their care and support.
Visitation will begin on Monday, June11, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. at O’Brien Funeral Home, 24 Lincoln Ave., Forestville/Bristol. Her funeral service will begin at 3:00 p.m. A graveside service will be held on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. at St. George Cemetery, 5 Durham Rd., Guilford, CT.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Connecticut Audubon Society, 314 Unquowa Road, Fairfield, CT 06824 (www.ctaudubon.org) or United Way of Greater New Haven, 370 James Street, Suite 403, New Haven, CT 06513. (www.uwgnh.org). To leave an online message of condolence, share a memory or a photo, please visit Bernice’s tribute page at www.OBRIEN-FUNERALHOME.com.
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