Martha Ann Murphy

On Thursday, June 4th, 2020, Martha Ann Murphy, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family at the age of 27. Martha Ann was born on June 26th, 1992 in Atlanta, GA.

From a young age, Martha Ann showed her competitive spirit through the many hours she spent practicing and competing all over the country with Dynamo Swim Club, where she still holds a top 10 all-time Dynamo record in the 200-meter backstroke. She graduated from Atlanta Country Day School in 2010 where she was Valedictorian of her class. Though Martha Ann was always open to receiving her letter to attend Hogwarts, she made her academic home at Oglethorpe University where she was mentored and challenged by a loving and supportive faculty and was awarded her degree in psychology. The years she spent at Oglethorpe nurtured her intellectual, artistic, and spiritual life and began her interest in trauma research that centered on how to cope with frequent and prolonged hospitalizations. After graduation, she took a year to combine two of her loves by teaching Art and AP Psychology at Atlanta Country Day School. She also furthered her understanding of clinical settings by volunteering at Northside Hospital Forsyth’s Emergency Room. At the time of her death, Martha Ann was in her second year of a PhD program at Mercer University in Atlanta in Clinical Medical Psychology, and she was fiercely optimistic and proud, even in the face of repeated health challenges, of reaching the milestone of her white coat ceremony.

Martha Ann was a deeply spiritual person who loved learning and had a compassionate curiosity about the world. She became a wealth of knowledge on any subject that piqued her interest. She was a rare and authentic soul who embraced life’s abstract, quirky, philosophical questions with a merciful wisdom and openness to multiple perspectives. The artwork she leaves behind is a source of comfort to her family, but how she lived, struggled, and found joy in her life is her ultimate work of art. Martha Ann showed courage in living with a congenital heart defect and chronic illness in her 27 years of life, and she used her insight and experiences to be an empathetic resource to anyone who felt like an outsider or experienced pain. Everyone from children to practicing medical professionals was inspired by Martha Ann’s passion to learn and teach others. When asked about her legacy, Martha Ann charged us to honor her through living our own beautiful lives, echoed in one of her favorite poets Mary Oliver’s question to all of us:

“Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

With your one wild and precious life?”

Martha Ann is survived by her parents, Martha and Sonny; sisters Rachel, Sarah, Sharon Murphy Augustine (Mike), and Nancy Harter; three nieces, Hailey, Kathleen, and Shyla; grandmother, Shirley Widner; aunts and uncles, Jane and Cofield Widner, Joann and John Norman, and Gail and Bill Murphy; many cousins, and her ever-faithful Italian Greyhound, Wally. She was preceded in death by her maternal grandfather William A. “Bill” Widner and paternal grandparents Therrell Murphy, Sr. and Elizabeth Murphy.

A private, family service will be held on Saturday, June 13th, 2020. A celebration of Martha Ann’s life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her honor to Oglethorpe University

Condolences may be expressed at

Arrangements by McDonald and Son Funeral Home, 150 Sawnee Drive, Cumming, GA 30040 (770) 886.9899

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