Obituary: Laura Murphy, 1952-2023 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Laura Murphy, 1952-2023 

Adventurer, foodie and caregiver was strong and brave

Published May 8, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated May 8, 2023 at 8:40 p.m.

click to enlarge Laura Murphy - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Laura Murphy

Laura was a foodie. When Laura met Liam, her husband of 40 years, on their first date in June 1978 at Bamiyan in Georgetown, D.C., she figured out how, between them, they could order everything on the menu. She loved to cook and try different foods. She read recipes and cookbooks as novels that would carry her away to a world of flavors and textures. She remembered the taste and smells of dishes eaten decades ago. One of the greatest hardships of the pancreatic cancer from which she died was the effect of the intestinal stent which prevented her from eating raw vegetables, berries, nuts and crunchy food.  She really wanted a salad before she passed, but she declined quickly in her last week and never got the chance.

Laura was a traveler not a tourist. Her dad was a Navy captain, and each sibling was born in a different state. She was born on April 24, 1952, at Walter Reed Hospital, Bethesda, Md. Growing up, she lived in at least six states and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during the revolution. As a teenager, she traveled throughout Europe, while taking care of the children of a diplomat. She and Liam began traveling almost immediately after they met. Together, they visited 49 countries and all seven continents. She was always ready to pack a single suitcase for a week — or three — even with just a few clues as to where she would be traveling on the surprise trips Liam arranged for them. 

click to enlarge Laura Murphy - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Laura Murphy

Laura was a great mother and sibling. Daniel was born when she was 40 and Brendan when she was 42. She was loving, dedicated and caring and provided the support and time each child needed.  She was most proud of raising two good young men. She remained close to her Pluto family and became another sister in the Murphy family. 

Laura was a caregiver. After Fort Hunt High School, she first went to Boston University but transferred to the University of Virginia, where she graduated in 1974. She completed course work for a master of public administration degree at George Washington University. She worked as a consultant in welfare policy, first at Moshman Associates and then as one of the original staff at Maximus. From 1988 to 2016, she worked at Champlain Valley Agency on Aging, initially as an outreach social worker and then in a variety of roles, including on the senior helpline and as a caregiver respite grant coordinator and a transportation services manager. She created a volunteer driver program, providing rides for seniors and people with disabilities. 

Laura was always willing to engage in a new adventure or challenge: Sure, let’s buy and remodel an old house on Capitol Hill, let’s move to Vermont and start a bed and breakfast, let’s build a house on an island in Lake Champlain, let’s build a new house and another and another. Let’s downsize— to a three-story Victorian parsonage!

click to enlarge Laura Murphy - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Laura Murphy

Laura was strong, and she always worked hard. No fuss, no drama, just get it done. And she was brave. She struggled but conquered her fear of heights, including braving Cape Town's Table Mountain 2,500-feet rotating cable car.  Even when facing the worst, Laura always kept her good humor. She never complained about the unfairness of the cancer. She stayed optimistic. She always said, “You just have to laugh about it." Instead of having her family and friends have a remembrance of her life after she passed, she wanted a party beforehand, where she could attend, visit and share memories.  

Laura was the love of Liam’s life. 
L5: Liam Laurence Loves Laura Lynn. 
L5: Laura Lynn Loved Liam Laurence. 

Laura is survived by her husband, Liam Murphy, Burlington, Vt.; son Daniel Murphy and daughter-in-law, Lindsay Jones, and son, Brennan, Louisville, Ky.; son Brendan Murphy, Charlestown, Mass.; her siblings and their families, Dianna and Bill Green and Donna Johnson, Bethlehem, N.H.; Valerie and Jonathan Sobel, Portsmouth, N.H., Michael and Carin Pluto, Boise, Idaho; and Patrick Pluto, Leesburg, Va.; and by her more than “in-law” Murphy family.

In memory of Laura, please consider a contribution to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network at

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