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Lula “Peggy” Lea Murphy passed away January 16, 2023 at the age of 91 in Kingsport, TN. She was born on the family farm in Thompson’s Station, TN to Robert M. and Dorothy Hatcher Lea on November 24, 1931. She was baptized at Thompson’s Station United Methodist Church and was of the Methodist faith. Peggy lived a full and vibrant life, living throughout Tennessee, Texas, and Florida and creating lasting friendships everywhere she resided. Peggy traveled extensively throughout the world, often with her mother, brother and his wife. Following World War II, she became pen pals with citizens of both Japan and Germany, later visiting her pen pals overseas. Growing up on the farm as the youngest of three siblings along with three cousins close in age across the road, there were always adventures, laughter, and many stories to pass on to future generations. Peggy and her siblings rode their pony Patsy to elementary school each day, a distance of about 2 miles.
Peggy was a graduate of Peabody Demonstration School (now University School of Nashville). She graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, class of 1955, and later received her master’s degree in teaching from the University of Tennessee. Peggy began her nursing career as a public health nurse in Texas, later teaching nursing for many years at Columbia State Community College in Columbia, TN. Peggy was beloved by her students, maintaining close friendships with many of them along with her nursing school classmates until her death. Peggy was an avid animal lover and was particularly fond of cats and horses. She enjoyed gardening and was an excellent cook. Peggy was a born caregiver, caring for her mother, son, and sister during extended periods of illness. She was a selfless giver with her time and talents.
Peggy was predeceased by her parents, brother Milton Hatcher Lea of Walnut Creek, CA, and sister Eleanor Lea of Gulfport, MS. She is survived by her son Dr. Kim David Murphy of Laredo, TX; granddaughter Marybeth Murphy of Santiago, Chile; cousins Karen and Tony Valk of Kingsport, TN; Dr. Sharon Bryant and husband Dr. Allen Burt of Knoxville, TN, Rodger Cotton of Franklin, TN and special family friend Lucille Haynes of Thompson’s Station, TN. Peggy is also survived by her numerous close friends, dear nursing school classmates and those whom she taught. Her legacy endures through the many hundreds of students she taught the art and profession of nursing.
The family would like to express their deepest appreciation to the wonderful care provided by the staff at Preston Place Suites along with Amedisys Hospice during Peggy’s period of declining health. A graveside service at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Franklin, TN is planned in February.
If desired, memorial contributions are suggested to the Peggy Murphy Scholarship Fund (established in 2015 by a former student to benefit future nursing students and to honor their memory of Peggy as a caring and excellent instructor) Columbia State Community College Foundation, 1665 Hampshire Pike, Columbia, TN 38401.