Joan McGillicuddy Murphy, a native of County Kerry, Ireland, who had lived in Kenmore for nearly 60 years, died Thursday (Aug. 20, 1998) in Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Town of Tonawanda, without ever revealing the recipe for her ribbon-winning Irish soda bread.
A proud woman who wouldn't tell her age, she also wouldn't reveal her secret recipes to her children and grandchildren.
"We think she was 88," said a daughter-in-law, Mary Lynn Murphy of the Town of Tonawanda, whose husband, John, is a Town of Tonawanda policeman. "When we asked her for the recipe for her Irish soda bread, she would let us watch her prepare it. But she never measured any of the ingredients."
Mrs. Murphy came to the United States as a young woman and worked as a domestic in area homes. As her children grew, she worked in food preparation at the former Buffalo State Hospital, now the Psychiatric Center.
In 1934, she married Timothy J. Murphy, also a native of County Kerry, who was a cook at Buffalo State Hospital. He died in 1972.
Known and widely regarded for her quick wit and ready smile, she was a life member of the Saint Paul's Women's Sodality and a supporter of many parish activities.
But Irish music and food were the focus of much of her life along with her family. She hosted a Saint Patrick's Day party every year at her home in Kenmore, where she lived alone until becoming ill about four months ago.
"She had the wonderful ability to convince her 35 grandchildren and 29 great-grandchildren that each one of them was her favorite," said her daughter-in-law. Mrs. Murphy also recalled that her mother-in-law enjoyed preparing hams for festive occasions and loved bagpipe music.
Survivors also include two daughters, Margaret Scott and Eileen Carney, both of Buffalo; five sons, John, Timothy, Michael and Rory, all of the Town of Tonawanda, and Patrick of Kenmore; a sister, Bina O'Driscoll of Buffalo.
Prayers will be said at 8:45 a.m. Monday in the Rolling Chapel of Dengler Funeral Home, 3000 Delaware Ave., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Paul's Catholic Church, 33 Victoria Blvd., Kenmore. Burial will be in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Town of Tonawanda.