The strongest branch of our family tree has fallen...
Our family’s matriarch Elfa Lee Murphy died on May 28, 2021 at 93 years of age. She was born in Luxora, Arkansas on December 1, 1927 to Elfa Geneva Scott and Ernest Olander Corkran. She was an only child. Her childhood was spent in Blytheville, AR. with her grandparents and many cherished aunts and uncles and cousins nearby. She left Arkansas in the mid-1940’s for California, living in Monterey, El Sobrante, finally moving to Sonoma, Ca in 1955 where she purchased the home that she would live in for the next 60+ years. She raised four children, two daughters and two sons.
In the early 1960’s, as a single Mom, she took several cross-country road trips with her school aged children, Gail, Mike and Jerry, her first daughter Elaine and her first two grandchildren to Blytheville, Arkansas to meet her grandparents and aunts and uncles and to see the Mighty Mississippi River! In addition to sight-seeing excursions along the way, she always booked rooms at motels with swimming pools and so the kids were all thrilled and entertained.
In 1965 she married David J. Murphy and together they owned and operated Sonoma Valley Cab Co. for 23 years. In the 1970s the business grew to include the Greyhound office and Western Union on the Plaza at 40 West Spain St. The cab company was a 7 days/week and 24 hours/day business. Being a family run business, Lee wore many hats including Cab Driver, Dispatcher, Book-keeper and Payroll officer, Greyhound Ticket Agent, and Western Union agent, hire-er, employee trainer and fire-er with back up from David to manage those long hours. The business was sold after David’s passing in 1988.
Her home was always the hub for family visits throughout the years and always with a big gathering and celebration on Christmas Eve. She was an accomplished and prolific knitter, making sweaters and christening shawls for grandbabies, sweaters for daughters and afghans for many members of the family.
Lee loved taking excursions to the SF Zoo and Steinhart Aquarium with her own adult kids and her grandbabies, also to the DeYoung and The Legion of Honor to see King Tut, Eternal Egypt and Monet exhibits. She enjoyed live shows with family members such as My Fair Lady on stage with Rex Harrison in SF, Phantom of the Opera and Beach Blanket Babylon.
In 1993, Lee took a 2 ½ month road trip around the US with different family members accompanying her on each leg of the trip. She visited Phoenix AZ, White Sands National Monument NM, San Antonio River Walk and the Alamo in Texas, Vicksburg and Natchez, MS New Orleans, LA, Pascagoula and Biloxi, MS, St Augustine, FL, Savannah, GA, Charleston, SC, Asheville, NC, the Blue Ridge Mountain Causeway, Gatlinburg, Nashville, Lexington, (her mother’s birthplace,) and Scott’s Hill and Reagan TN, (where her grandparents were born). She visited cousins in Memphis, TN and Kankakee, IL. She was joined in Buffalo, NY by daughter Gail and her husband Gene and their children, James and Amy. From there they traveled to Niagara Falls, on both the US and Canadian sides, the nickel mine at Sudbury, Ontario, the locks at Sault Ste Marie, MI, many of the Little House on the Prairie sites and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, Custer National Park, MT, Yellowstone National Park, WY. and then homeward through Elko and Reno, NV.
Lee is survived by: her daughter, Gail Barrot (Gene) of Sonoma, son Michael Young (Linda) of Greenleaf, Id, her 6 grandchildren: Gayle Hunter (Jeff) and Harold Browning Jr. of Vacaville, Shane Murphy, Matthew Young (Emily) of Sonoma, James Barrot of Petaluma and Amy Ellis (Jason) of Castle Rock, CO. Her 5 great grandchildren: Amanda Glankler (Zach) of Vacaville, Kristina Hunter of Auburn, Ca, Kevin Browning and Kierstyn Campos of Vacaville, Ca and Mason Young of Sonoma. Her 8 great great grandchildren are Julius, Manuel, Zane, Mia, Caiden, Maisey, Grayson and Huntley. Her very close friend, Heidi Danieli of Sonoma mourns Lee’s passing as well.
Lee is predeceased by her husband David J. Murphy (1988) her mother Elfa Geneva Scott (1942), her son Gerald E. Murphy (1980) her daughter E. Elaine Smithey (2015) and an infant granddaughter, Meagan Murphy (1979). Burial will be private at Sonoma Mountain Cemetery, where David and her son, Jerry are buried.
A Celebration of Life was held for family and close friends at her daughter’s home. Memorial contributions may be made to The Alzheimer’s Association https://www.alz.org or at the Santa Rosa office 1450 Neotomas Ave. Suite 140 Santa Rosa, Ca 95405 707-573-1210 or to Sutter Care at Home-Santa Rosa (Hospice) 110 Stony Point Rd. Suite 200C, Santa Rosa, CA, 95401 707-535-5700
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