In Memoriam

Being a positive influence and leaving others better for having known you are the qualities of a special individual. Sharon Virginia Murphy Smith was this kind of person. Her death, just prior to her 75th birthday, takes a bit of goodness and joy from the world. She influenced lives wherever she lived and had a positive impact on children, their parents, and their communities. Sharon will be missed by many, all over the world.

Sharon Virginia Murphy Smith

Sharon Virginia Murphy Smith

Sharon was born on Jan. 28, 1942 to Alice and John Murphy III, former publisher and CEO of the AFRO-American Newspapers. Sharon is a great grand-daughter of John H. Murphy Sr., the founder of the AFRO American Newspapers. She attended public schools in Baltimore and Catonsville, Md., graduating from Western High School in 1959. She graduated from Towson State Teachers College (now Towson University) in 1963 and taught for a few years in the Baltimore City School System.

While in Baltimore, Sharon was a devoted member of Saint James Episcopal Church, singing on the Junior Choir. Sharon relocated to San Francisco, Calif. and later Oakland, Calif. where she continued her teaching career. While in the Bay Area, she earned the designation of master teacher.

Sharon married William D. Smith (Bill) of Winston-Salem N.C. in 1977. Together they have one son, Justin Sherwood Murphy Smith. Sharon was a strong supporter of the women’s movement and a longstanding member of the Saint Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Oakland. She was also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Sharon and Bill enjoyed the opportunity to live and work outside of the USA for six years in Brazil and Chile, and traveled all over the world. While living in Rio de Janeiro, Sharon learned some (Brazilian) Portuguese and toured the northern coast of Brazil. In Chile, she taught English to local children, learned to speak some Spanish, and was the editor of a monthly journal for the expatriate community.

Her most endearing experience was the five years she lived and raised her son in Duncanville, Texas. She enjoyed her family, built lasting friendships, and became involved in the local school as volunteer teacher and administrator. She was also an avid supporter of the arts and introduced her son to theater arts.

During her last few years, she spent part of her time at the family home in Panama, where visits and long vacations were enjoyed.

Sharon was preceded in death by her parents. She leaves to mourn, her husband, her son and daughter-in-law (Kelly Smith), her brother and sister-in-law Daniel and Bernadette Murphy, in-laws James Smith, Sharon Denise Smith, Rev. Rosa York, John Patrick Smith, nephew and nieces Josh York, Dr. Brett Murphy-Dawson and Dr. Lynn Murphy-Michalopoulos, and many other relatives and friends.

A celebration of her life will be held Jan. 28, 2017 at Saint Augustine’s Episcopal Church, Oakland, Calif. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation and the Mountain Valley Hospice.