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Sun Youth mourns loss of seniors club co-founder

April, 2010

She was the heart and soul of the Sun Youth Seniors Club. She had been a founding member of the club and was its second president. On February 27, Mary Murphy died at St. Margaret’s home at the age of 84. She will be sadly missed by all.

I spoke to a few people at Sun Youth and asked them to share with me their most precious memories of Mary Murphy.

The first person I spoke to is Tom Stewart, director of the Sun Youth Seniors Club. He had known Mary since he became involved with Sun Youth in the early ’90s.

Stewart recalls that she was very active in those years, co-ordinating seniors who were cooking meals for volunteers during the Christmas basket distribution.

She was also co-ordinating the wrapping and distribution of gifts for children. She was the main force behind the Seniors Club spring and fall bazaars.

She started such social and recreational activities as trips, line dancing and other activities. The Seniors Club was founded to help provide Sun Youth with experienced volunteers and provide activities and a meeting place for seniors.

The thing Stewart remembers most about Mary Murphy is her personality.

Despite a certain temper, she was a very warm and pleasant person and gladly welcomed new people into the club. She was also very firm and had her convictions, he says.

I then spoke to Tommy Kulczyk, assistant to the executive vice-president and director of emergency services.

“She took her role very seriously and her work to heart,” Kulczyk recalls.

Mary Murphy in 2005, at an event honouring Sun Youth volunteers. Photos: Nicolas Carpentier

“She was always making sure that all of the members of the club would be happy for the time they were with the club, during bingo day or other events. She would always take time to invite the Sun Youth employees to the special dinners organized by the club for various holidays. She wanted everyone to come and share with the members of the club. In more than 25 years, I never heard anyone who had anything bad to say about her. I think it’s a good sign. It shows that she did her job well.

“Sun Youth can only exist because of people like Mary Murphy,” Kulczyk says.

“She helped us a great deal throughout the years to be a better organization. She redefined what caring and sharing mean to us. She was faithful to Sun Youth for all her life. She was able to bring something fresh to the Sun Youth Seniors Club and for that, we thank her. She was behind a lot of the activities for which the Seniors Club is famous. These activities allow the club to still be in existence. It’s a great loss for Sun Youth and for everyone who knew her and appreciated her, her family and her friends at the Seniors Club”.

Executive vice-president Sid Stevens relates: “I found Mary to be a good listener, a good talker, a good thinker, a good worker and a great friend for Sun Youth Organization. She was the individual person who put her heart into what she believed in. As the second president of the Seniors Club, she built it up to what it is today. She deserves all the accolades that people could bestow her. She was a very easygoing, soft-spoken, wonderful person. She’ll be sadly missed by everybody. She put more than a quarter of a century into Sun Youth.

“She was here during the difficult times and the good times”.

Finally, I spoke with Marie Cayer, president of the Sun Youth Seniors Club. She will probably miss Mary Murphy the most.

They had been friends for most of their lives, their friendship going back 45 years.

Cayer became president of the Sun Youth Seniors Club when Murphy resigned because of health reasons.

Cayer mentions the countless hours Murphy spent doing volunteer work at Sun Youth.

“She gave body and soul to Sun Youth but it was never enough for her,” she recalls.

“It was very beneficial for her to be here. It helped her get through the toughest periods of her life, like when her daughter Lyse passed away.”

Murphy would do everything to help the other members of the club, but also to assist the organization during various events.

Marie Cayer with the portrait of friend Mary Murphy at the Sun Youth Seniors Club Recreation Hall.

She was responsible for the wrapping and the distribution of toys given to children each Christmas and she helped distribute holiday hampers to people in need.

The thing Cayer will miss most about her friend is the perfect working relationship they had. They never disagreed and were always on the same page and worked the same way.

They fed off each other but were also complimentary, which would allow for more work to be done.

Marie recalls that Mary was “a very interesting and likable person, very sociable. She had a beautiful smile!”

From everyone at Sun Youth, I would like to express our deepest sympathies to Mary’s family and friends. We will never forget her and we will cherish her memory forever. May she rest in peace.



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