Cover photo for Elsie Murphy's Obituary
Elsie Murphy Profile Photo

Elsie Murphy

September 5, 1915 — March 24, 2014

Elsie Murphy

Obituary for Elsie Murphy

Obituary: Elsie Murphy

Elsie Grulke was born on a farm south of Walnut Iowa on Sept. 5, 1915. She was the second of three children born to Fred and Nellie (Menke) Grulke. The Family ran the Deermeyer Country Store south of Walnut until after the depression set in when they eventually sold the store and moved to Atlantic where Elsie finished school and began work at a local grocery store. Elsie took on the role of the “lady of the house” at a very young age when her mother died in childbirth in 1922. She took care of her younger sister Dorothy and together with her older brother Virgil helped their widowed father run the store. Elsie lost her big brother and best friend Virgil to illness when he was only 19 years old, again forcing Elsie to step up and help out even more than before.

Elsie met Bernard Murphy after moving to Atlantic while babysitting Bernard’s nieces who lived next door. Elsie and Bernard had a long courtship during the depression and war years where they pooled their resources so that Elsie could go to Cosmetology School in Des Moines. Elsie was a skilled beautician and very proud of her accomplishments. Bernard and Elsie were finally married on Sept. 7 1944 in St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Atlantic and resided on the family farm north of Marne where Bernard (Bud) and his brother Tommy farmed together. Elsie worked at several beauty shops before opening her own shop after the war. She had to give up the shop due to a long illness where she lost her ability to have children. In 1950, thanks to help from Father Schuman (St. Patrick’s church in Walnut) and their uncle Msgr. Thomas P. Murphy of Des Moines, they were able to adopt a son they named Gerald. Elsie kept her cosmetology license active through 1955 but being very busy as a new mother, only did work on occasion for friends who needed their hair done but could ill afford going to a professional salon. Elsie and Bud worked on the farm through 1971 when they sold out and retired to live at 605 Elm in Atlantic. They continued to enjoy their retirement there until 2003 when they moved to Colorado to be closer to family. Elsie and Bud were members of St. Peter and Paul Catholic church in Atlantic. Elsie (in her early retirement) volunteered to teach youth groups and was an active member of the sewing and quilting groups. Bud was active in the Knights of Columbus. They celebrated their 50th anniversary there with a mass on Sept. 5th 1994.

Elsie and Bud’s son Gerald (Gerry) was married to Sandra K. Hansen of Exira in 1971. They have two children, Genah (Evergreen CO) and Sonja (Steamboat Springs CO). Elsie and Bud spend many happy times with their grandchildren and with Gerry and Sandy who resided in Iowa City IA until 1988. After the children and grandchildren moved to California then finally to Colorado, Elsie and Bud enjoyed traveling to new and interesting places, seeing Hollywood, Dodger’s games, the Colorado mountains during Aspen season, and of course just visiting the family.

Elsie enjoyed crafts and hobbies. She was always making something, be it stuffed animals, fancy dolls, quilts, or knitted afghans. After a long illness, Bud passed away in early 2003 but Elsie, true to her ability to accept the curves that life throws us, continued her life for 11 more years at two different retirement homes in Littleton Colorado. As her arthritis began to impact her ability to do crafts, she took up cards and was an avid poker player in the local “Texas Hold’em” gang at the assisted living center. She and the family spent many happy times together after her husband’s passing and she had the pleasure of playing with her three great grandchildren (Catcher, Briar, and Tamsyn) whom she loved dearly.

Elsie passed away peacefully on Monday March 24th at 98 years, 6 months and 19 days at the Lakewood care center in Lakewood CO after a brief illness. A portrait of grace in aging, she even attended a friend’s birthday party only 4 hours before her death. She was preceded in death by her Mother Nellie, her Father Fred, her brother Virgil, Sister Dorothy, and her Husband Bernard. She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law Gerry and Sandy Murphy of Conifer CO, by two grandchildren Genah Murphy Burditt and Sonja Murphy and by three great grandchildren Catcher, Briar, and Tamsyn Burditt.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 1:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 1, 2014, at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Atlantic with Father Chori Seraiah, as celebrant.

Interment will be at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cemetery in Walnut, IA.

A prayer service will be held at 6:00 p.m., Monday, March 31, 2014, with family meeting friends following until 8:00 p.m. at Roland Funeral Home. There will be open visitation Monday, from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Roland Funeral Service of Atlantic, Iowa, is caring for Elsie’s family and arrangements. Condolences and Lighting of Candles may be left in her guest book at

Elsie Murphy

September 5, 1915
Walnut, Iowa

Monday, March 24, 2014
At the age of
98 years, 6 months, 19 days
Lakewood, Colorado

1:00 P.M., Tuesday, April 1, 2014
SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church
Atlantic, Iowa

Father Chori Seraiah

Ardis Dusenberry

"Amazing Grace" - Processional
"Here I Am Lord" - Offeratory
"I Am The Bread Of Life" - Communion
"On Eagles Wings" - Recessional

Genah Burditt
Sonja Murphy

St. Patrick Catholic Cemetery
Walnut, Iowa

May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

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Past Services


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Service Information

Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church

106 W 6th St, Atlantic, IA 50022

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Interment Location

Walnut Catholic Cemetery

, Walnut, IA 51577

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