Barbara Susan (Greenwood) Murray died on January 29, 2022, when her heart finally gave out after 91 years and 7 months of life. She was the only daughter of Charles Greenwood and Doris (Peroski) Greenwood, and the beloved wife of Paul V. Murray, whom she married in 1953 and who died in 2005, after 52 years of marriage. Barbara lived in Fairhaven for over six decades, but was born and raised in the North End of New Bedford, near St. Killian’s Church, and that’s always where she considered herself to be “from.”
Barbara graduated at the top of her class at Holy Family High School in 1948, and then worked in the Industrial Engineering Department at the former Revere Copper and Brass from 1950 to 1957. Once all of her children were of school age, she began working in the Superintendent’s Office of the Fairhaven Public Schools, and remained there for eighteen years, until she retired in the early 1990s. In retirement she was a volunteer for hospice for several years.
One of her prized possessions was her rosary beads, which were made of sterling silver and which she won in 1944 for having the highest grade point average in her 8th grade class at St. Killian’s Grammar School. She cherished those rosary beads, and said the rosary with them every day for 78 years.
Barbara never got the opportunity to go to college. Instead, she and Paul sacrificed and saved and put all seven of their children through college. We could say that Barbara loved to travel and read suspense novels and go to restaurants and movies and spend time with her family; that she loved Jeopardy! and would have been an excellent contestant on that show; that she knew how to braid rugs and sew and knit and made the best French fries and apple pies; that she was smart and determined and curious until the very end of her life (even asking that the Sunday newspaper be read to her just a few days before she died).
We could say all that, but she disliked flowery obituaries, so we’ll just say that she was predeceased by her husband Paul, and is survived by her children: Susan Murray (and spouse Karen Hibbard) of Burlington, Vermont, Christine (and Christopher) Blake of Taunton, Cindy Anderson of Taunton, Paula (and Jerry) Burke of Nashua, New Hampshire, Timothy Murray (and Anne Marie) of Attleboro, John Murray (and Danielle) of Marion, and Carolyn Murray (and Christopher Harrison) of Hingham. She is also survived by her Italian “daughter,” Nadia Fornasiero, of Milan, Italy, who lived with the family as an exchange student from 1984-1985, and remained close to Barbara and the family for all these years. Barbara is also survived by her fourteen grandchildren: Daniel and Brendan Blake, Andrew and Matthew Anderson, Brian Burke (and wife Dana), Maggie, Colin and Liam Burke, Ryan and Owen Murray, Jack, Peter, and Anna Murray, and Campbell Paige Harrison; and finally, her two great-grandchildren, Rory and Molly Burke. Barbara’s family was her great joy. She joins her partner, best friend, and love of her life, her husband Paul, in Heaven, where she hopes he has finally learned how to dance.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Barbara’s memory to the St. Joseph’s Indian School, P.O. Box 326, Chamberlain, SD 57326 (a school providing education and housing for Native American children in need that Barbara supported for years).
Her Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday, February 11th at 11 am in St. Joseph’s Church. Burial will follow in St. Anthony’s Cemetery. Visiting hours are omitted. Arrangements are with the Saunders-Dwyer Mattapoisett Home for Funerals, 50 County Rd. (Rt. 6), Mattapoisett. For directions and guestbook, visit www.saundersdwyer.com.