Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Jean Ford Murphy, 82, Civic Activist and Navy Wife

My grandmother, Jee Jee, died Saturday, February 16, at 9:35 pm. She was surrounded by my mom, my uncle, my brother, and myself as she left our loving embrace to enter God's embrace. Jee Jee was a Christian, and she was a tremendous, quiet example of dignity, lady-likeness, generosity to those less fortunate, hard work, loyalty, and duty...not to mention beauty and a good fashion sense! A loving wife and mother, and a feisty Republican, she died with her family around her and CNN on the hospital TV -- I don't think she could have planned it better. Obituary follows:

Jean Ford Murphy, 82; Virginia Civic Activist and Navy Wife

Jean Ford Murphy, 82, died Saturday, February 16, 2008.

Jean was born in Tiger, Georgia, the daughter of Harold and Ora Arrendale. She was a descendent of Dr. Pierre Chastain, a French Huguenot who emigrated to Virginia in the 1680's. This quiet, pretty Georgia farm girl grew up to become a community activist and a world traveler.

While attending the University of Georgia, Jean met her first husband John Ellsworth Ford, a dashing young naval aviator on his way to the Pacific in WWII. They were a great team and Jean was an active Navy wife through three decades of Naval service, culminating in Captain Ford’s Command of Naval Air Station Oceana in the early 1970’s. They were married for 54 years until his death in 1998, and were blessed with three children. Jean married Captain Joseph J. Murphy USN (Ret.), in 2003. They shared a full life of travel, community service, and a love of the arts and theater. In recent years she divided her time between her long-time home in Virginia Beach, Va., and The Villages, Fl.

Jean was known for her devotion to diverse causes and was active in numerous local and national organizations. She represented Virginia as a delegate at the 2004 Republican National Convention and had served as President of the Virginia Beach Republican Women's Club and the Princess Anne Republican Women’s Club. She was active in the Military Officers' Wives Association, the Association of Naval Aviators, Galilee Episcopal Church, and the Virginia Federation of Republican Women. She was also a talented businesswoman and one of the owners of Braeford's Ltd., a successful Virginia Beach ladies clothing store operated for almost 20 years.

Most importantly, she was “Jee Jee” to four generations of family, a wonderful homemaker and beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother who shared the joys and events of their lives to her last day. She was dearly loved and will be greatly missed.

In addition to her husband, Jean Ford Murphy is survived by her sister Irma Howell, of Alpharetta Ga., her daughter, Donna Redd of McLean, Va., her sons Anthony Ford of Louisville, Ky. and John Ford of Chevy Chase, Md., eight grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, February 22, at Galilee Episcopal Church.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Galilee Episcopal Church, 3928 Pacific Ave., Virginia Beach, Va. 23451 and Lee's Friends, 618 Stockley Gardens, Norfolk, Va. 23507.

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