Lois Murphy: A Farmgirl with a Big Heart

April 14, 2020

Lois Murphy didn’t think she had a story to tell until she started talking. It turns out she has met three U.S. Presidents, won awards, plus had a life of caring for others and working hard.

“I was always a person who liked to work. I was born in the Depression and wanted to get a job,” says Lois. She grew up in Winters, California – farm country. “By the time I was 7, I had a job picking up figs off the ground. Then, I packed figs until I was 10. I was really a farmgirl!”

Working in between school, Lois’s jobs added up. “At 12, I got a job at the dime store. At 15, the drug story lady took me away from the dime store. Then I went to work in the ice cream parlor,” says Lois. Next, it was to the insurance business up the street. “It was so much fun because I knew everyone in town.”

One of the town people was Tom, a high school football and basketball star. “He was like, unattainable,” says Lois. Nevertheless, he asked her out. After she left to attend college in Sacramento, her mother had a nervous breakdown and Lois came home to look after her. It was then that she and Tom decided to get married and Tom got called up for duty in Korea. They upped their wedding date from spring to January.

Lois was 20 when her husband came back. Unable to have children, they adopted two – a brother and sister. Then 18 months later, she had a baby! When her youngest was 5, Tom was killed in a car accident and her father was dying of cancer.

Her dad ran the Paradise Park Masonic Club in Santa Cruz, so Lois and her 3 children moved there to help. One day, her children met two children whose father, Frank, was a widower. “He had heart problems, had been given five years to live, and needed someone to look after his children.” Frank asked her to marry him. Still depressed about her dad and Tom, Lois said yes. They met in July, married in September, and then got to know each other. Frank worked in San Francisco, so they bought a house in Belmont and Lois enrolled her 5 children – aged 6 to 13 – into school.

Still a farmgirl at heart, Lois started a local 4H chapter. Soon the chapter had a farm, 150 members, a dance, and a scholarship program. She ran it for years and won many volunteering awards! Through connections at 4H, she was hired by then Supervisor and later Congressman Bill Royer to run his office. She had fun in that job and met President Regan, first President Bush, and President Carter. She was also on the San Mateo Fair Board, their Livestock Advisory Committee, and the Board of Directors for the Cow Palace.

Her husband Frank, who had expected to live 5 years, lived 11 and then one morning, he didn’t wake up.

Time passed and Lois met a man named Joe. He invited her out and they hit it off. “Then I married him!” exclaims Lois. “He was the sweetest man. I called him the love of my life.” She and Joe bought an RV and traveled all over the US. Joe had a surgery and never fully recovered, then quite suddenly passed away from an aortic aneurysm. “Thank goodness I’ve always had my children close,” says Lois.

“In 2012, I met this man online. And what a cutie!” She and Cliff got along beautifully, and Lois’s daughter encouraged her to move in with him. “When he heard he said, ‘Oh great! You want to get married?’ And I said ‘No, my attorney told me if I ever got married again, he’d shoot me!” laughs Lois. They traveled all over. Cliff’s daughter said he’d never been happier. Just last, year he died of pancreatic cancer.

Lois’s daughter did not want her living alone so they visited Sterling Court and it was just right. The apartments were bigger than other places and her youngest daughter lives just up the road. Now, in her cozy apartment, Lois is looking forward to her 88th birthday.

Lois is right. She didn’t have a story to tell… It is an epic!

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