"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, but love leaves a memory no one can steal." - - an Irish headstone
Elizabeth Elmina Marie Murphy (Liz), 68, of South Forest Avenue, Hartwell, passed away Friday, May 22, 2020, at AnMed Health Medical Center in Anderson, S.C., after suffering a heart attack. Her many friends and family will remember Liz as gentle, soft spoken, and humble. She understood our need to be shown respect and she listened without judgment. She forgave our faults, despised hypocrisy and laughed at our humanity. You could see a little sparkle in her eye when someone received their "comeuppance." She could be silently stubborn and openly loving. She taught us all so much about what it means to live without pretense.
Born in Salamanca, New York, on June 20, 1951, Liz was the daughter of Theresa and Robert Murphy, Jr. Shortly after her birth, the family moved to Moultrie, Ga., back to the family farm on Shade Murphy Road in Murphy Community. She graduated Moultrie High School where she was a member of Beta Club, Drama Club, and her beloved A Capella Choir and Serenaders Ensemble. She was secretary of the French Club and attended Governor's Honors Program in French in 1968.
Liz was always compassionate and kind and decided to become a nurse like her mother who died two months before her high school graduation. She attended Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, before transferring to the University of Georgia Medical School, Augusta, Ga., where she completed her BS degree in Nursing.
After receiving her degree, Liz moved to New York City and worked summers as the nurse for Trailblazers Camp, which provided an opportunity for underprivileged children in the city to experience nature. Here Liz brought her love of music by playing guitar and singing with the campers.
When Liz decided to continue her education, she returned to Georgia. She worked as a maternity ward nurse in Stephens County and attended UGA where she earned an M.Ed in Counseling and spent weekends at the family cabin on Lake Hartwell.
Liz moved out west when she was offered a position as the Director of Nursing at the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute. She took a position with the Joint Commission for hospital accreditation for a time in the early 2000's before returning to the University of Utah as a nursing/ counselor coordinator for the state of Utah Juvenile Justice System. She also helped author a text book on the accreditation of youth psychiatric facilities. It was during this time that Liz was diagnosed with a chronic disease that led to her disability.
This did not diminish her love of life, and she enjoyed the "wide open spaces" for many years. She loved her view of the mountains each day and she enjoyed taking family and friends hiking and camping through her favorite parks, No trip was complete until we jumped in the car, let down the windows, and drove through the mountains singing in harmony the songs she loved while enjoying God's beauty.
It was in Utah that Liz met her husband Thomas Nelson who shared her love of the outdoors. Together they enjoyed gardening and hiking with her sheepdog Bryce and their border collies Belle and Caleb. The cats Ezzie, Jack and Violet were also part of the family. As physical activity became more difficult for Liz, she and and Thomas decided to move closer to her family. Here, with her husband driving her around North Georgia, she was able to reconnect with old friends and still enjoy the lakes and mountains. Liz loved family, children, her garden, singing, reading, baking and honeybees, which she knew were endangered.
She is survived by her husband Thomas Nelson, Hartwell, Ga.; a stepdaughter Melanie Joseph Walgren; and two granddaughters, Addie and Dixie, of Salt Lake City, Utah. She is also survived by her siblings: Peter and his wife, Angie Sayeski, of Atlanta, Ga.; Suzanne Murphy Hightower of Athens, Ga.; Maureen Murphy Deloach of Hartwell, Ga.; Robert Murphy III of Pensacola, Fla., and Mark Murphy of Athens, Ga. She is also survived and loved so much by her seven nieces and nephews, Frank Sayeski, Ben Sayeski, Lauren Sayeski, and Danielle Smeeton, Michaele Quesnel, Katie Sklivagos, and Jenny Murphy Miller and her great nieces and nephew, Emma and Owen Sayeski, Kingsley Hightower, Audrey and Joseph Quesnel, Sophie, Olivia, and Ruby Smeeton and Matthew, Sarah and Andrew Miller, and Mary Louise Talbot. She is also survived by those who knew her and mourn the passing of her beautiful spirit, along with us.
A memorial tribute will be held for family and friends at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to TrailBlazers Camp, Montague Township, New Jersey, Off season address: 394 Rogers Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225.