Remembering Heather Murphey


David HubbardWeb Editor

Last week when I heard about Heather Murphey’s passing I was in a bit of a shock. Being 47 years old, it is disturbing to receive news of a younger friend passing away. I was unable to attend Heather’s funeral, which was held at 2 p.m. last Saturday at Eidsness Funeral Home; however, I was able to meet with SDSU alumni Chuck and Lynn Olson, and Susan DePrizio McKinstry at the Pizza Ranch Sunday evening to reminisce about our friend.

The first thing we discussed was how Heather had been grading papers at one of her recent visits to the emergency room a few days prior to her passing. This was typical of the Heather we knew. She was more focused on completing her work then worrying over the state of her health.

We discussed how Heather was plagued with physical ailments. Heather often joked about her illnesses, but she never complained about them. She always talked in a rather matter-of-fact terms about her conditions. She was more eager to talk about one of her hobbies than her health issues.

While I thought Heather had been knitting for years, Lynn and Susan said knitting was a relatively new hobby for her. Heather’s knitting was so good her work looked like she had been doing it for years. We discussed how she had a knack to hand spin yarn. She could spin almost any material beautifully. They also said Heather was excited about the purchase of a new spinning wheel and how she enjoyed using it.

Chuck, Lynn, and Susan commented about the realism of Heather’s “reborn babies” dolls. She created the dolls for parents who lost a child. Susan said she was amazed how realistic Heather’s dolls looked once she was finished creating them.

My son, Corey Hubbard, was one of Heather’s English students. He commented once about how much he had learned from Heather’s class, and that she was not the type of instructor who “gave away grades.” Lynn and Susan reiterated this comment, saying that Heather had a high standard for her students.

I learned that Heather had a small garden at the Community Gardens in Brookings. We all laughed about how proud she had been of her radishes.

We also discussed how knowledgeable Heather was. She had a wealth of information about a variety of subjects. While she certainly was qualified to teach English, she always impressed me with her depth of knowledge in everything we discussed.

Lynn indicated that Heather was fond of pink roses. Unfortunately when Susan attempted to order pink roses for Heather’s funeral, the Brookings florist said they ran out. Susan commented that someone left a gift of a teddy bear with a skein of yarn Heather had spun. This caused us all to pause for a moment.

Ellen Meyer Walker – a friend of the family – said, “… [Heather] drove herself to the E.R. and was admitted to the E.R. where she died.” Ellen believed an autopsy was conducted, but the results have not yet been disclosed.

Our time together remembering our friend was cut short, as the weather started turning bad and everyone had a long drive home. I was happy that we had the chance to meet and remember Heather. I am sure Heather would be the first to tell me not to be sad. Although, I have to admit, when I spoke to the English department today I did get a bit misty- eyed. So many people loved Heather. We will all miss her company.

#1.1898183:3973379570.png:Heather-Murphey.png:Heather will continue to be remembered as a beloved friend and a dedicated professor. Her love for her students and her passion for life are an inspiration to the family and friends who will miss her greatly.:Submitted Photo