Barbara Schafer Murphy

Barbara Murphy, 81, of East Greenbush, passed away January 23, 2018, in Carmel, Indiana. Born July 13, 1936, in Colonie, she is predeceased by her parents Andrew and Elizabeth (Richter) Schafer.

Barbara graduated from the Academy of the Holy Names in 1954. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the College of St. Rose in 1958, and a Master's degree in Education from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1959. She spent a summer working for the Albany Times Union. After graduating, she took a job at North Colonie Central Schools, where she worked as a teacher from 1959-1963.

Barbara and John Murphy were married on August 17, 1963. The two met at a bar in Albany in 1961 while he was on leave from the Navy. He asked her to dance, and she said yes. They struck up a correspondence while he was at sea, which they maintained for two years. They reconnected between his 7-month deployments, and he eventually proposed. Barbara gave up teaching in 1963 and moved with her husband to Rochester, New York, to start a family. Barbara and John had three sons and spent 54 years in a loving marriage.

Barbara enjoyed traveling with John and her three sons. Their family trips always included stops at historic sites. Family vacations to places like Monticello, Gettysburg, and Hyde Park engendered a lifelong interest in American history among her sons. Her last family trip – to celebrate her 81st birthday – included stops at Appomattox Court House, Biltmore, The Hermitage, and Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home. Barbara also enjoyed international travel, frequently visiting her sons Michael and Tim while they lived in Europe. Barbara loved classical music and made regular trips to the Metropolitan Opera. She transmitted her love of classical music to her grandchildren, one of whom, John William, took up the violin at her urging.

Barbara was passionate about gardening and cooking. She continued with both until her illness made it impossible. She became a Master Gardener through Cooperative Extension and put the skills she acquired to use designing and maintaining widely admired gardens at her home in East Greenbush. She was largely a self-taught cook and took justifiable pride in the meals she prepared for her family. Her holiday meals were especially memorable. Barbara's Christmas cookies were so good that she had to hide them from her husband and sons to prevent their consumption before Christmas when she would lay the cookies out on decorative trays after serving a festive, holiday dinner. Every year or so, her boys would discover the cookies' hiding place and consume them all before Christmas. Barbara would lodge a perfunctory complaint, bake a fresh batch, and then bask in the accolades and Christmas toasts to her culinary prowess that always followed.

Barbara is survived by her husband John Murphy; by her sons Michael (Kimberly) Murphy, Timothy (Ann) Murphy, and John (Connie) Murphy; by her brothers Robert and William Schafer; by her nephews Michael (Shelley) Schafer, Kenneth (Lisa) Schafer, Bryan (Heather) Schafer, Todd Schafer, and her niece Karyn (Alex) Campbell; by her grandchildren John William, Alexander, Caroline, and Owen Murphy; and by many grand nephews, grand nieces, cousins, and grand dogs, especially Tedi, a Bosnian mutt who so enjoyed her "grandmother's" company that she once pried open a bathroom door to join Barbara in the shower. The memory of Tedi's watery greeting brought a comforting smile to Barbara's face and a twinkle to her eyes as she coped with the cancer that ultimately took her life.

Funeral services will be held at Holy Spirit Church 667 Columbia East Greenbush, NY on January 30, 2018, at 10:30 am with Father Joe O'Brien of Holy Spirit Church officiating (calling hours prior to mass from 9:30-10:30 am at the church). Burial will follow at Saratoga National Cemetery, for immediate family only. William J. Rockefeller Funeral Home is handling the funeral arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Association online at