Elizabeth Murphy

The following is one of several Collegeside member profiles written by Donna Smith over a period of several years. They tell the personal stories of some of our long-time members, some of whom are living and some of whom have gone on to be with their Lord. Their personal stories are an important part of the historical fabric of Collegeside.

On hot summer days you can find Elizabeth Murphy sitting beside Cherokee Lake, reading every book she can get her hands on, and eating homegrown tomatoes as she visits at the lake house of her daughter and son-in-law, Ann and Robert Breeding. She enjoys watching her granddaughter Libby start the morning water skiing with her dad.

Elizabeth has fond memories of her years at Collegeside and says that fall was always her favorite time, especially the picnics on the grounds and the special feeling of beginning another school year. As Dean of Women and as a teacher at TTU, she was involved with the University for over 30 years. She reminisces that her years at Tech began when President Everett Derryberry called her to ask her to teach. Other college campuses in her life included Peabody and UT, where she completed degrees, and Lipscomb, where she first taught.

Elizabeth and James, her husband of 58 years, were an integral part of the beginning of the Collegeside congregation. She remembers delaying the building of their house on James’ family land for a year so they could contribute to the new Collegeside building. When the time came to move to the new place, their son Bill was the youngest person at the Broad Street congregation, and James’ grandmother was the oldest. Ann remembers tears along with the excitement when the time came to leave Broad Street to begin the new Collegeside.

Before the new group could hire a minister, James took turns preaching along with Dave Maddux and Ray Kinslow, and James joined Dave and Ray as an elder as soon as Ann was baptized. Elizabeth and James worked together wholeheartedly for the Collegeside church until his death in 2001.

Many who grew up at Collegeside remember James as the man with pockets full of candy to share with boys and girls.

Although Elizabeth remembers playing tennis with James in Algood, where they both grew up, she says there was nothing serious between them until after she finished her degrees and began teaching at Lipscomb.

“I bought two wedding dresses!” she remembers. They first planned their wedding for June, but it was wartime, and James had to leave immediately for service. She returned her summer gown and bought a winter one for their delayed wedding in November, 1943.

Elizabeth and James eventually built their house and planted daffodils and apple and maple trees. They filled their home with years of memories—of Ann in her playhouse, of Bill and his buddies climbing on the Mimosa tree, of friends helping to make apple cider with the antique cider mill, and of countless delicious meals expertly cooked by Elizabeth and shared with family and friends.

Mary Moss, Elizabeth’s first cousin and a member of Collegeside, says that Elizabeth was always the ultimate homemaker and an inspiration to her students. Mary remembers another fun fact about her cousin: Elizabeth was elected May Queen during her student days.

Nowadays Elizabeth loves to talk about her five grandchildren and her first great grandson. Yes, Bill and Alice are grandparents!