Obituary : Joan H. Murphy
Joan Hills Murphy of West Tisbury died on Monday, Nov. 16 at Windemere Nursing Home at the age of 84 after a long illness. She still enjoyed visits and conversations with her family, kept track of their activities, and retained her sharp wit and sense of humor to the end.
Joan was born in Fitchburg in 1925, daughter of Doris Lowe of Fitchburg and Michael Murphy, born in Kilarney, County Kerry, Ireland. Joan had three brothers and a sister, all of whom have predeceased her. Joan was proud of her Yankee and Irish heritage - her mother's family had been in Massachusetts since the mid 1600s and Joan visited County Kerry in the 1970s. Her mother's family had a long Martha's Vineyard connection as her grandfather built a cottage in the 1870s to attend the Baptist Meetings in the Highlands (East Chop area) and the family spent part of every summer there.
Graduating from Fitchburg High School in 1943, Joan worked as a volunteer at Fort Devens and the USO while also working at the Burbank Hospital in Fitchburg in the admitting office. In 1946 she married Jeffrey Drinkwine, of Fitchburg, who had just returned home from World War II. They purchased an early 18th century house to restore in Winchendon and Joan spent the next 10 years raising a daughter, working on the house, and pursuing her hobbies of gardening, knitting, keeping her journal, furniture restoration, and taking care of a menagerie of animals. In later years she also took up stenciling, weaving, painting, and silver jewelry making.
Moving back to Fitchburg in the late 1950s, Joan worked at Park Snow's department store. She enjoyed retail sales and working with the public. During the 1960s, after she and Jeffrey purchased their Lake Avenue Campground Cottage, she was assistant postmaster of the West Chop Post Office, assistant manager of the Captain's House in Vineyard Haven and also assistant manager of the Country Store in Edgartown over the course of four summers. In 1970 she opened her own business - Pure & Simple Natural Food store in downtown Fitchburg. The store was a great success and she made many new and lasting friendships.
In 1984, now divorced, she closed her store and moved to Hancock, N.H., where she worked at the Monadnock Family & Mental Health Service running their senior volunteer program. In the early 1990s she built a house and moved permanently to West Tisbury, where she volun
teered and worked part time at the Senior Center at the Howes House from 1996 to 2006. She also spent a great deal of time with her two grandchildren during the after school hours where she passed on her love of animals, storytelling, reading, and just having fun.
Joan is survived by her daughter, Jill Bouck, son-in-law, Lynn Bouck, and grandchildren David and Libby Bouck, all of West Tisbury. A private family service will take place in West Tisbury and a celebration of her life will be held in the spring for family and friends.
Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs. Visit ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.