Often when someone within the community has passed away I have already collected my thoughts about the person. I have to say that I am completely unprepared to write about Beverly Murphy I was convinced she would fight her way back to health. I’ll give it a try.
Beverly rose through the ranks of the United Irish Societies of Montreal. She joined the organization in late 2002 or 2003, looking to volunteer her time somewhere. Boy, were we lucky to have Bev. She was first a marshal in 2003, sort of. After committing to marshal, she suffered an injury that she feared would prevent her from being on the street. So in true Bev fashion, she volunteered her daughter Kim to be there with her. In 2004 she assumed the chairmanship of the Banquet Committee. In 2005 she was elected to the position of Recording Secretary and became a section head as a marshal.
Beverly took a step back from the Elected Executive after the 2007 parade but assumed more responsibilities within the parade the following year, becoming a Deputy Director under Michael McCambridge’s direction. In September 2008 Beverly assumed responsibility for the organization of the parade when she was acclaimed as Vice President – Organization, making history by becoming the first female Parade Director this organization has had since 1928 and that the Parade has had since 1824. She guided the parade admirably until she rose to Senior Vice President in April 2011. After apprenticing for two years she assumed the presidency in April 2013.
Bev completed her presidency on April 19 2015, passing the torch to Danny Doyle. As is the departing president’s right, Bev named longtime member Terrance McCambridge and Reception Committee Chairperson Claudette Roach as Gold Card members.
Bev eased into the role of past president, assuming the chairmanship of the Nominating Committee in October 2015 and of Program Committee in November 2015, the latter for one season. She stepped away from the Nominating Committee in September 2017. Beyond this, she was a quiet presence within the organization who happily helped with the Parade and any other committee that needed a hand. She never wanted recognition for her efforts.
Bev was given Gold Card membership by Danny Doyle on May 7, 2017 at the conclusion of his presidency.
Bev was one of those people who could make you laugh and could easily laugh at herself. She was a warm and welcoming woman who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. Spontaneous, it wasn’t out of the ordinary for her to send out a message looking to go to the local pub for a pint and meal and more often than not, that’s exactly what her friends would do.
In the Winter of 2017 she and her family welcomed me to take a trip to Ireland with them that Spring. We had the best time seeing the sights, visiting the landmarks, as well as tasting the whiskey and Guinness at their respective storehouses.
Bev was most proud of Kim, Kevin, and Vanessa. She loved her grandchildren to bits, proud of all their accomplishments in academics, dance, basketball, and everything else they do.
Rest easy, my friend. I and we are going to miss you.
Ken Quinn, Historian
United Irish Societies of Montreal