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'Renaissance Woman' Anne C. Meyer Williamson Murphy Dies at 97

Visitation scheduled for Wednesday; funeral Thursday

Photo courtesy John F. Pfleger Funeral Home
Photo courtesy John F. Pfleger Funeral Home

The following was submitted by the John F. Pfleger Funeral Home:

Anne C. Meyer Williamson Murphy, 97, of Leonardo passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014.  

Anne was a lifelong resident of Leonardo, after moving at a very early age from Ridgefield Park where she was born on Oct. 17, 1916.

Anne lived a full life of caring, sharing and service to others, starting as a young volunteer “Candy Striper” at Riverview Hospital in her early teens. She also worked after school at her father’s corner grocery store - known as “The White House Store” to generations of local Leonardo customers since it’s opening in 1927 - and continued working there after purchasing the store along with her husband, in 1943 and operating it until 1979, when she “retired” at age 63.

Anne was truly a renaissance woman. Long before girls’ sports were commonplace in scholastic sports, she was the captain of the girls’ basketball team at Leonardo High School, where she graduated in 1934 with perfect attendance, along with the nickname of "Miss Pep and Laughter." During High School, she also was a member of the Mixed Glee Club, the Senior Operetta, was Student Chapel Chairman and was a regular Referee for Girls’ Grammar School Basketball games.

Her dream was to go on to college to become a Registered Nurse, but unfortunately, that was not to be.

Instead, Anne filled her life with an amazing amount of activities and service to others. Probably among the first generation of truly “Working Moms”, Anne raised four children while working a full, 50-plus hour work week in her father’s, and then her husband’s, grocery store.  

While doing that, she also somehow found the time to be a Choir Member and Sunday School Teacher at the Leonardo Baptist Church, a Den Mother for Cub Scout Troop No. 44, a member of the BP&L Fire Company’s Ladies Auxiliary, a member of the Leonardo Grade School P.T.A. (serving as President for two years), a member of the Middletown Lions Club Ladies Auxiliary, a member of the VFW Post No. 2179 Ladies Auxiliary, AND - a founding member of the N.J. Blind Men’s Club Thrift Shop Located at Camp Happiness in Leonardo, where she was an active volunteer until the age of 95.  

While in that capacity, Anne was awarded the title of “Woman of the Year” TWICE. She was also recently honored by the Leonardo Senior Citizens Center as its oldest active member.

Anne was an avid sports fan and enjoyed watching sports of all kinds on TV. In particular; she had a lifelong love affair with football, having faithfully watched her husband (and high school sweetheart) Fred, then her sons, her grandsons and even her great grandsons play, in addition to enjoying college and pro games on TV.

In her later life, Anne moved her church membership to New Monmouth Baptist Church where she remained a member until her passing. She was a wonderful Mother, Nana and “Great Nana” and remained the Matriarch of the family, until her death.

She was predeceased by her parents, Fred and Anna Meyer, her loving husband of 37 years - Fred C. Williamson, Sr. and later, by 2ndhusband Thomas Murphy (also of Leonardo).

She is survived by son Fred C. Williamson, Jr. and wife Dee of Atlantic Highlands, son Ray Williamson and wife Maureen of Ocean, daughter Joanna Williamson Monday of Leonardo and daughter Gerry Williamson Mahoney and husband John of Leonardo, as well as 10 Grandchildren and 13 Great Grandchildren.

In lieu of Flowers, contributions can be made in Anne’s memory, to the N.J. Blind Citizens Association; 18 Burlington Ave., Leonardo, N.J. 07737.

Visitation will be held Wednesday, Jan. 8 from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at John F. Pfleger Funeral Home, 115 Tindall Road, Middletown. 

A funeral service is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 9 at 10 a.m. at New Monmouth Baptist Church. Burial will follow at Bay View Cemetery, Leonardo.

For more information, to send condolences or for directions, please visit www.pflegerfh.com.

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