Ersel A. Murphy


BETHEL – Ersel A. Murphy, 102, died Sunday, Jan. 14, at her home.

She was born July 14, 1904, to Charles and Carrie (Rollins) Williams in Avon. She attended Rangeley High School, where she met her future husband, Robert Glenn (Pat) Murphy.

She graduated from high school in 1923. She attended the School of Methods in Old Orchard for the year after high school.

On Aug. 5, 1925, she and Glenn were married and lived in Rangeley, where eight of their nine children were born, Robert Glenn Jr., 1926 to 1976, Joyce E., 1928, William A., 1930 to 1997, Charles Ray and Carman Roy (twins), 1932 to 1932 and 2005, respectively, Frank S., 1933 to 2002, Ruth E., 1935 and James C., 1937.

She was a homemaker, but did find time to assist the local doctor (Dr. Colburn) as needed. Glenn purchased a barbershop with an apartment upstairs in Stratton and in early summer of 1939, he relocated his family.

Their ninth child, Paul S. was born while they were there. Pat sold his business and the family moved to an old farmhouse about three miles out of town. Pat went to work for the Brown Co. scaling wood. His job took him to Bethel.

He talked her into moving to Bethel promising her that they would not have to move again. They purchased the Marshall place in 1944, where she resided until her death.

Aside from raising her own children, she became “Mother Murphy” to a large number of Bethel boys and girls. She and Pat adopted two additional children, Christopher B. Murphy and Josephine Murphy, and had legal guardianship to Rhonda Cole. She found time to work outside the home, assisting Dr. Kneeland delivering babies, sorting dowels at Hanover Dowel Co. Mill and cooking for the Norseman Inn. She was very involved in church life, directing choirs, singing, playing piano and organ and teaching Sunday school.

She is survived by two daughters, Joyce Stearns of Bethel and Ruth Bishop, and her husband, Charles, of Orland; three sons, James, and his wife, Marjorie, of Bethel, Paul, and his wife, Susie, of Key West, Fla. and Christopher of Oakland; five daughters-in-law, Priscilla of Gorham, N.H., Lea of Oakland, Calif., Dot and Sidney of Bethel and Judy McCaslin of Winslow; 24 grandchildren; 47 great-grandchildren; and many great-great-grandchildren.

She was predeceased by her husband, R. Glenn (Pat) Murphy; five sons, Robert, William, Ray, Roy and Frank; her adopted daughter, Josephine; two brothers, Wayland Williams and Phil Billington; two sons-in-law, Robert Stearns and Charles Mason; and a number of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Her hugs and smiles will be missed by many