Edna Trent Murphy was born in farmhouse in Indianola, near Greenville, Miss., on Aug. 17, 1915, to Calvin Trent and Minnion Ooley Trent. She chose to go to heaven on her 98th birthday, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013 in her home in Moab with her son, Arthur, at her side.
Edna’s parents moved to Worthington, Ind., before she was three years old, after they purchased a farm outside of town. Her father raised hogs, sheep, cows and also some corn and soybeans. She was an only child. Her closest friend was her cousin Mary Ellen, who lived roughly ten miles away on her Uncle Tommy’s farm. She and Mary Ellen remained close until Mary Ellen’s death in 2006.
After graduating from high school at the age of 15 and completing the elocution lessons, Edna attended Indiana University. She graduated in 1936 and then embarked on a teaching degree. She taught English and reading skills to high school students for over 38 years before retiring. A large part of her teaching career took place at Chrispus Attucks in Indianapolis, a famous all African-American High School.
Around 1979, her husband Arthur E. Murphy Jr., a Deputy Attorney General in Indiana and successful attorney became ill with cancer. Edna went back to work at Fort Benjamin Harrison at the Defense Finance Accounting Service (DFAS) after her husband’s illness and worked as an administrative assistant for 25 more years. Arthur recovered and returned to practicing law in his own legal practice on the southside of Indianapolis. Later the cancer returned and after a long battle he passed away in December of 1984 on Christmas eve, with his son, Arthur, at his side.
In 2005 the Defense Finance Accounting Service held a birthday celebration in her honor where the entire base stopped work and attended out of respect for her. Her son Art remembers standing next to her as people stood in line to see her.
Edna continued to work at DFAS until she was 94. When she retired she was the oldest federal employee ever to work for the U.S. Government. Her accommodation plaque was sent to Moab where it was presented to her by federal project director Don Metzler and deputy Joel Berwick here in Moab.
Edna loved Moab, and made many friends during her five year residency. She belonged to the library and was in a book club, took Xi-Gong classes and always got her hair done at Joe’s Beauty Terrace, she revered Joe.
Edna usually read at least one book a week, sometimes two. She was pretty tough to beat at “Jeopardy” or “You Want to be a Millionaire”. Each night her son, Arthur and his wife Theresa King Murphy would play her at both games.
Edna is survived by her daughter Penny Roberson, of Westfield, Ind., daughter Margaret Starks of Cincinnati, Ohio, a son Arthur (Theresa King) Murphy of Moab; eight grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers please send any donations to the Grand County Public Library that she loved so much.