Louise Gee Murphy, a Baltimore City educator and former state senator, died of natural causes the morning of Feb. 15, her daughter Sharon Dow confirmed with the AFRO. She was 88.
Murphy, a passionate advocate for education, served nearly half a century as an elementary school teacher, principal, supervisor and specialist for Baltimore City Public Schools. Later in life, she delved into politics.
A powerhouse in her own right, heading various committees including the Maryland State Central Committee and Morgan Park Community Association, the outspoken woman married into the iconic Murphy family of the AFRO American Newspapers in 1971.
A product of city schools, Murphy attended what was then Coppin State Teachers College to have an impact on the school system. She graduated in 1944, during the heart of segregation, and two years later, she earned a master’s in education from New York University on scholarship. “ the state preferred to pay for Blacks to go to graduate school somewhere else besides the University of Maryland with them,” Dow said.
Murphy soon returned to Baltimore and completed an advanced certificate in education from The Johns Hopkins University. She spent 43 years swiftly moving up the ranks of city schools until her retirement in 1988. Between the years of 1982-83, she served in the Maryland General Assembly as a democratic state senator for District 44, replacing incumbent John Carroll Byrnes, according to the Maryland Society of Senators Past.
“She was a forceful, concerned, committed person, who had a deep sense of the value of the community. She had a sense of the importance of political organizing and she was a fixture in the Black society of West Baltimore for as long as I can remember,” AFRO CEO and Publisher John Oliver Jr. said.
Among her many honors, Murphy served as president of the Baltimore City Retired Teachers Association, on the boards of directors for the Morgan Christian Center and Arena Playhouse, and was a 60-year active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
Dow said her mother loved to travel. She recalled a time in the 1960s when they traveled cross-country by train. “But what was probably the most important to her was education,” Dow said. “She firmly believed that children had to get a good foundation in the elementary years.”
Murphy is survived by one daughter, two grandchildren and one great grandchild.
The funeral arrangements are:
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Delta Research & Educational Foundation.
Condolences to her daughter, Sharon Dow