Karen Suzanne "Suzy" Murphy, 80, a lifetime resident of Great Falls, MT, passed away peacefully Wednesday, May 5 at her home surrounded by 3 of her children. Cremation has been entrusted to Croxford Funeral Home; A private burial will take place in Garneill, MT and a Celebration of Life will be held at 2 PM Saturday August 7 in the Staybridge Suites courtyard. You are encouraged to bring your own lawn chair and beverages.
Suzanne was born on December 27, 1940 to James E. and Catherine (Hovie) Murphy. She attended schools in Great Falls, graduating from GFHS in 1958 before continuing her education at the Colorado Women's College and at the College of Great Falls. A gifted musician, Suzanne received numerous awards throughout her schooling, participated in recitals both as a pianist and vocalist, and was pictured in the local paper several times for a variety of awards and events. Among those were being a model for a department store and winning her division in the Pet and Doll parade many times, sometimes entering alone and sometimes with her brother Don. Active in a variety of things in her youth, from the Hanging of the Greens in Denver to being a Danceathon winner, Suzanne went on to instill that drive to achieve and be a part of the community in her children later in life, even winning a first place in a golf tournament with her youngest daughter Sheila in 1984.
On September 7, 1962 she married Raymond Murphy. They moved to Bozeman, MT where their oldest child Jamie was born. After Ray graduated from MSU they returned to Great Falls where they had 3 more children, Michelle, Rob and Sheila, before later divorcing.
While Suzanne spent a good part of her life as a homemaker and volunteer, she was employed for many years in retail both as a teenager and then again later after her children had grown, working for several years at Riddle & Ringer Jewelers. She also spent many years in the motel industry working at The Fox Hollow Inn and retired after 17 years at Mid Town Motel/Perkins.
Suzanne was very active in Camp Fire over the years and was recognized numerous times for her accomplishments. As a child she was in her own troop, then as an adult she was the troop leader for her kids, as well as serving on the board of directors for many years. She was also a Den Mom for her son Rob's Cub and Boy Scout troops. She participated in making pinewood derby cars and pimping out cardboard boxes for the chariot races, and Mom made many cakes for those cake walks over the years, despite not being able to bake anything else. Most of us recall her famous bunny shaped cake covered in coconut to look like real fur lol complete with Twizzler whiskers.
An avid skier, in the winter she could usually be found most weekends at Showdown with a carful of kids.
She had many interests from gardening, golfing, bowling, skiing, music, sewing and crafting to genealogy. Family was extremely important to her, and she was very proud to be the great granddaughter of Robert G. and Anne Shiell, founders of the Ubet Society, the Garneill Hotel (now the community center) and the family sheep ranch in the Garneill area. Suzanne spent hundreds of hours researching the family lineage over her lifetime long before we had an internet to make it easier. Always an active supporter of her children and their interests, Suzanne could usually be found cheering them on from the sidelines during their various extracurricular activities or driving them all to tournaments. She will forever be remembered for being the original DIY and how she could make things out of whatever was at hand, and always having an open door for anyone in need. There was always a meal for any kids that showed up at dinner time and a bed if they needed a place to sleep.
She is survived by her son, Robert (Tina) Murphy of Great Falls, MT; her 3 daughters, Jamie (John) Berrett of Cottage Grove, OR, Michelle (Mike) Evans of Boise, ID and Sheila (Patrick) Murphy-Czifro of Seeley Lake, MT; 9 grandchildren, Adam, Casie, Joshua, Katherine, Megan, Alexandria, Nicholas, Diana and Garrett; 7 great-grandchildren Vincent Owen, O'Rion, Wrenn, Avery, Emma, Landin and Josh; her beloved Kitty Mia; grandfurkids, Bodhi, Lilly, Sam, Cheeseburger, Taffy, Oreo, GreyStripes, Treasure, Totoro, Beastie, Cashmere and Dakou and dear life-long friend, Cherron Shipp.
She was preceded in death by her parents, brother Don Murphy, granddaughter Tessa and grandson Andrew.
If people would like to make a memorial donation in her name, they can be made to The Cash Hyde Foundation, The Leukemia Society, or the GFPS Music Department.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Karen Suzanne "Suzy" Murphy, please visit our floral store.