On Monday, October 23, 2023, Joan Murphy passed peacefully to eternal life in her sleep residing at Lantern Hill.
Joan was born in Jersey City, NJ to Louis and Loretta Lasch, she had four siblings (Loretta, Louis, Richie and Steve) and was part of an extended family comprised of thirty-three grandchildren born from Grandma Dunphy. She was a Lasch (German) through and through and no doubt her father’s daughter whom she took care of until his passing in 1997.
Joan attended Sacred Heart Grammar School, then St. Michael’s High School in Jersey City where during her formative years she learned to form relationships and create lifelong friends which she has always done throughout her life. After graduating from High School, she worked in New York City for New York Life before meeting a neighborhood kid and sweeping him off his feet. On August 20th, 1956, Gerard Edward Murphy and Joan Lasch were wed and enjoyed 61 years of marriage before his death in 2017. After their first child (Gerard Murphy Jr) was born they left Jersey City for the booming suburbs of NJ. First residing in Ridgewood, NJ where four more sons were born-Tim, Chris, Dan and Steve. The family decided to move to Bethel, Connecticut for a couple of years but extended family was important to Joan and Jerry, and they decided to move back to New Jersey and lived in Summit for 40 years and in New Providence for the past 8 years.
With each new addition to the family, each new move Joan continued to grow, and she was the perfect mother to her five boys. Joan devoted her energies to raising the family. Amazingly, she was able to treat each son as an individual knowing just the right time to protect, prod, listen, laugh, nudge, challenge, console, discipline and most of all, respect.
As the boys got older, Joan was looking for a new challenge and a way to continue to grow as a person. As in the past, any new challenge Joan took on came with the requisite uncertainty but that would never deter Joan. Mom decided to take a role at Hartshorn Elementary School in Milburn, NJ. Her principal, Terry Weiss, immediately saw in mom the aforementioned skills she applied raising five boys. Ms. Weiss took a chance on Joan with the reasoning that if Joan could manage raising five boys, she would be great at helping raise 250 elementary children. Mom enjoyed her years at Hartshorn and developed a deep friendship with Mrs. Weiss. Mom moved on to Central Presbyterian Church in Summit where she plied her burgeoning skills working for the Pastor at the time Riley Jenson. While learning a thing or two about difference and similarities between Catholics and Protestants.
Joan was always helping people outside the family in her everyday walk of life, but also in more organized groups such as the Catholic Daughter s of America; she was a strong supporter of the Donor and Tissues Awareness Group and Summit Helping Its People (SHIP). Joan was also an avid reader until her eyes began to fail, she was proud to be part of the Summit College Club Book Discussion Group. She was fearless and a fighter for her causes and for her family.
She loved to travel in the US and around the world with her children’s families and Elderhostel trips, excited to talk about her adventures in Israel, Malta, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, England, France, Egypt and many other places. Not to mention the countless recitals, graduations, and school/sporting events her grandchildren participated in which she enjoyed attending and couldn’t wait to tell anyone who listen how incredible her grandchildren were.
In all, it was Joan’s ability to make connections with people and make them feel loved and heard no matter who they were. For those of us that were lucky enough to have Joan as a mother or to know Joan, she was willing to challenge herself, she was a force to be reckoned with, independent in thought and always offering unconditional love. She treated everyone with respect and instinctively knew when to protect, prod, listen, laugh, nudge, challenge, and console.
She would often say her five boys and their families were her greatest joy and often commented how lucky and blessed she was to have such wonderful in laws whom she considered her own children. The reality is that everyone she touched was lucky to have her in their life. She will be sorely missed by her family and friends who knew her.
Joan is predeceased by Gerard Murphy, her husband of 61years, her brothers Stephen Lasch (and his wife Judy) and Richard Lasch, She is survived by her sons Gerard “Jerry” Murphy, Jr. (Craig), Timothy Murphy (Corinne), Christopher Murphy (Teri) Daniel Murphy (Dawn), Stephen Murphy, 12 Grandchildren Julia (Brendan Lukaneic), Jeff (Jennifer Smith) Kevin, Grace, Aidan, Kiera, Nolan, Dylan, Madelyn, Quinnlyn, Anna and Liam and 1 great-granddaughter (Lily); her sister Loretta Conheeney, brother Louis Lasch and his wife Geri, sister-in-law Kay Lasch, cousin Msgr. Kenneth E Lasch and many nieces and nephews and grandnieces and nephews.