Cover photo for Charlotte Murphy's Obituary
Charlotte Murphy Profile Photo
1924 Charlotte 2024

Charlotte Murphy

August 4, 1924 — January 2, 2024

Murphy, Beryl Charlotte (Thompson)

Beryl Charlotte Thompson Murphy, better known as Charlotte, Chic, or simply "Mom" and "Nana," died peacefully in Dekalb County Jan. 2, in the home she built, surrounded by all six of the children she loved. She was 99.

Born Aug. 4, 1924 in Springfield, Ill., she lived a life devoted to the service of others. Charlotte was an industrial and human resources manager at Caterpillar and Sears, a tax preparer, a voting rights activist, a women's rights activist, an early and ardent supporter of Jimmy Carter's gubernatorial and presidential campaigns, a decades-long volunteer at St. Joseph's Hospital, and, above all, a loving mother to six, grandmother to 23, great-grandmother to 27, and surrogate mother and role model to countless others.

As a child, she was studious and serious, with just the occasional hint of mischief. She fondly recalled summers spent in Springfield camps and winters with occasional sledding excursions on one of Springfield's few hills.

Given the opportunity by World War II to accelerate her education on a Purdue University campus largely devoid of men, she raced through college, completing an industrial management degree in just three years. Throughout her life she remained justifiably proud of her work to design, build and fly a glider on campus as part of a club project. She was equally proud of her association with Purdue's Chi Omega sorority, which she cherished for her entire life.

Ever poised and independent, she set out from Purdue to Peoria to work for Caterpillar Tractor. Born 20 years later, she very likely would have been an engineer who went on to become an astronaut or something of equal challenge utilizing all her intellect and talents. Instead, given the times in American society, she worked in the personnel departments at Caterpillar and Sears Roebuck and Co.

That's where she met Richard Gallier (Dick) Murphy.

The two married in Illinois in 1947 and Charlotte abandoned her career to support his. It was far from the only time she selflessly put the needs of others above her own.

For a little more than a decade, they moved from city to city as Dick rose through the ranks at Sears. Along the way, she gave birth to Richard Jr. (Rick) in 1948, followed by a decade during which Rick was her constant companion as she set up and tore down households in Laporte, Ind. Panama City Beach, Fla., Columbus, Ga. and West Palm Beach, Fla.

Then the dam burst.

From 1957 to 1963, Charlotte gave birth to Jeanne, twins Judith (Judy) and Jane, Charles (Chuck) and Charlotte (Sherry).

The last four were born in Atlanta after Charlotte and Richard made it their final stop in 1958. Atlanta became her home. The permanence offered by that move gave Charlotte the opportunity to design and oversee construction of the Dekalb County house that would serve as the family's anchor for the next 60 years.

Again, putting others before self, Charlotte volunteered at the kids' schools, drove thousands of carpools and missed few (if any) football, baseball or soccer games, ballet recitals, swim meets or plays.

Just as she emerged from her years devoted solely to being Mom, she was dealt a blow when Dick died at 54.She had one child just starting a family of his own, two in college, one who had just returned home, and two still in high school.

But rather than pout, or wilt, Charlotte went to work. She prepared taxes for others to generate income. She took regular work at the Merchandise Mart, and she managed the family's finances with such expertise that none of her children ever wanted for a thing.

Having finally emptied the nest by the end of the 1980s, she turned her energy to her church, Immaculate Heart of Mary, her volunteer work at St. Joseph's Hospital, and her grandchildren. She traveled the world with friends and family and snuck in the occasional round of golf.

She was extraordinary.

Charlotte was preceded in death by her mother, Beryl; her father, Benton; and her sister, Fran.

She left her family with no needs. Should you choose to remember her with a donation to charity, Purdue University,St. Joseph's Hospital and the League of Women Voters were among her favorites.

The family will greet Charlotte's friends and admirers at noon Saturday, followed by a memorial service at 1 pm at A.S. Turner & Sons, 2773 N. Decatur Road. A reception will follow at 2:30 at the Atlanta Marriott Northeast, 2000 Century Boulevard

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Charlotte Murphy, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, January 6, 2024

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

A.S. Turner & Sons Funeral Home & Crematory

2773 North Decatur Road, Decatur, GA 30033

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Saturday, January 6, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

A. S. Turner & Sons Funeral Home & Crematory

2773 North Decatur Road, Decatur, GA 30033

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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