REGION — Rumford Group Homes, which operates shelters for homeless families, including shelters in Paris and Norway, has named their newest home in Leeds after former Bethel resident Nancy Boggan Murphy.

Murphy was more than a name. She was a mom, a wife, a friend, a dedicated advocate for the homeless and disadvantaged children, a board member of Rumford Group Homes for over 20 years, and so much more. When she died, at 63 years, she had most recently served as the adult and community education director for the Region 9 School of Applied Technology.

She died last August, but what she stood for is still alive and being carried on by those who knew her best, and by those who barely knew her at all and were touched by her being.

“I think compassion is the first thing that she stood for,” said Melissa McEntee, director of Rumford Group Homes. “She was very interested in being there for the community. I think she was very interested in the community and very interested in taking care of everybody and very interested in making sure we were providing the best services we could and the people in the area could get what they needed from us. She was just so interested in providing services to the most vulnerable people in the area.”

Her compassion for those at the shelter shone through. The day of the dedication ceremony, Murphy’s husband Dave Murphy and their children cut the ribbon.

“We did have some shelter guests there (at the ceremony). We have a great bunch of families staying at that shelter, they all pitched in and helped us decorate,” McEntee said.


“This was October so we did hay and pumpkins and fall mums. And they helped us decorate the outside, they helped us hang the ribbon for the ribbon ceremony, they helped us decorate. They spent a few days before the opening making sure everything was okay outside, they decorated around Nancy’s sign with mums and pumpkins, so the shelter got really into it, too. It was kind of like they were saying thank you to her, too.”

“She was always concerned about treating the residents who were there and the staff very fairly,” said Jim Ippolito, guidance counselor at Mountain Valley High School. “Especially if the resident had a concern or complaint or suggestion. She was always one to make sure we were making it right with that. She was very happy when something positive happened for the residents or the staff. It was important to her. We definitely miss her presence, no doubt about it.”

Murphy’s close friend Julie Hart, who is the adult education director for SAD 44, used to run a quilting class for kids with Murphy.

“She has a group of friends from Massachusetts, there were about a dozen of us who went on this cruise, and I went with her. It happened to be my birthday. Well, every place we went she was telling them it’s my birthday. It was funny,” Hart laughs. “She wanted other people to be recognized.”

“She was very independent, very determined to do things,” said Hart. “We went cross-country skiing early on when they (Murphy and her husband) got here. We ended up on the Interval Road. It was hilarious. That was way before cell phones or anything. But we always did the damnest things together and we had fun. Like I said, I miss her.”

When talking to officials at Rumford Group Homes, everyone agreed Murphy was a great listener, the kind of person one could bounce ideas off of, a sounding board. She was always participating in every meeting, and as a member of the board, she never missed a meeting, even if it meant she had to call in.

“At the board dinners she was the life of the party, she had a ton of jokes, and she was just so interested in what everybody else had going on. And the thing that really stands out to me is that Nancy loved talking about her family,” McEntee says passionately. “I would sit next to her at the board dinners, (and) she would always spoke about her children, she was so proud of her children. She always spoke of her family, of what was going on.”

“My favorite memories with Nancy were when she and Dave were together and we’d have a board dinner at Christmastime and the two of them were just such a delightful couple together, the nice memories of them together at a social event, like those dinners, so cordial, articulate, they were both very articulate,” says Alan Monier, a previous director for Rumford Group Homes.

Murphy’s husband, Dave, is the superintendent of schools in SAD 44. Her son Bill Murphy is serving in the Navy and lives in Hawaii with his wife, Michelle. Her daughter Erin Murphy lives in New Gloucester.

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