In Loving

Karen Anne Murphy

August 5, 1956 – June 13, 2024

Gone far too soon, Karen Anne Murphy passed away at the age of 67 on June 13, 2024.  But she made quite the impression on many in the time she enjoyed.  Karen was the first child of Patricia Anne Walsh and William Thomas Murphy.  She is survived by her brother, Michael B. Murphy, and his wife, Janet S. Langhorne.  Also grieving her absence are dozens of beloved cousins and cherished friends.

Karen was a Virginian, born and raised in Arlington and Falls Church.  She made her home in Richmond after earning her Mass Communications degree at Virginia Commonwealth University in 1978.  One might say she never left VCU, as she completed a 40+ year career there just last year.

During and after college, Karen worked a string of jobs at The Magic Pan, Fox Photo, Thalhimers, and The Omni, and she maintained the friendships that she made at each job along the way.  But she found her “career” once she returned to VCU, working in a variety of positions within several departments on both the academic and medical campuses.  She had her start as a clerk in University Enrollment Service and worked other jobs in admissions and bio-statistics. 

For the last 25 years at VCU, Karen served as the Director of Logistics and Administration in the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics.  Her primary focus was grant supported degree programs and outreach programs for pre-service and in-service K-12 teachers.  With a little cussing along the way, she adeptly tackled the policies and procedures of a variety of funding agencies and institutions to obtain and administer financial support for these programs.  Courses and workshops in these programs were team-taught by faculty from more than two dozen different universities and K-12 schools across Virginia.  And hundreds of teachers from across the state participated in these programs by applying to, registering through, and graduating from a variety Virginia colleges and universities.   Karen was the quintessential jack-of-all-trades as she navigated the complexities of this collaborative effort to get students enrolled through different university admissions offices and registered for classes, as well as to get the faculty hired and compensated for their workWhen Karen organized an event, like a workshop for teachers, dinner for a statewide mathematics education effort, or a two-week residential summer institute, everyone knew that every detail would be taken care of and that, without a doubt, it would be a fun and memorable experience for all.  Most importantly, the teachers who participated in these programs knew that they knew someone who would lend them a helping hand whenever they needed it.  All agreed…Karen was both a wonderful colleague, and a friend to everyone she met.

Karen’s successful career at VCU was key, but she treasured the life she lived outside her alma mater, too.  She loved family events, running the roads from Virginia Beach to Northern Virginia, and to Pennsylvania and NY, just for the fun.  She was a loyal member of the Walsh Girl Gang.  Likewise, Karen found  delight in time spent with friends, especially entertaining and cooking for them.  Back in the day, her New Year’s Day ReGroup parties were legendary.  She rarely missed a GDO happening (Girls Day Out), and was always ready for a party.  The beach was Karen’s favorite getaway, and she was proud to be a Charter Ducker.

Join family and friends on Friday, July 12, 2024 to celebrate Karen at a visitation at 10 a.m., followed by a service of sharing at 11:00 a.m. at Affinity Funeral Service, 2710 Enterprise Parkway, Richmond, VA 23294.

Click here to view the live-streamed funeral service for Karen Anne Murphy.

Karen was truly a “cat lady”, pursuing for years her passion project of trapping homeless cats and having them neutered.  Those wishing to make a memorial contribution to honor Karen may consider doing so to PAL, Prevent a Litter, 3421 W. Cary St., RVA, 23221,