It is with deep sadness that the family of Beryl Murphy announce her passing at the age of 89 on Aug. 7, 2021. Beloved mother and best friend of Claire Murphy (Steve Cannon) of Port Elgin, Beryl was predeceased by her husband John and son Nigel. Grandmother to Jenna Murphy (Jordan McDonald) of Paisley and Chris Murphy (Laura) of Port Elgin and great grandmother to Emerson and Myrick. Much loved aunt and dear friend of Mike Holden and Sue Davies of Owen Sound and “Grandma Beryl” to Sarah and Isaac Bester of Port Elgin.
Born Feb. 10, 1932 in Halifax, Yorkshire, England, Beryl was the youngest of Amy and Lewis Haigh’s three daughters and forever the “baby” to her sisters Joyce and Margaret. In their early years, the trio of red-headed Haigh girls lived modestly in a working-class town hit hard by the Great Depression and Second World War. Work was often scarce and always hard, but Beryl spoke only of a childhood rich with family fun and adventure. To her, it was always home. It was in Yorkshire where Beryl met and married John Murphy, a handsome young rugby player and tool-and-dye maker. As newlyweds, they spent weekend nights in the grand dance halls of the day in Halifax and Blackpool. As new parents, they travelled the world on “cheap and cheerful” excursions John had a knack for finding. As retirees, they spent most winters in England fixing and flipping old homes and summers in Port Elgin, where their children had both emigrated to live and work. After John’s death in 2003, Beryl moved full time into a Port Elgin condo to be close to her children and grandchildren. She joined the Red Hat Society and sought out live music wherever it was played. On warm summer nights, she would take Claire’s little daschund dog for walks on the beach to share ice creams and sunsets. Beryl, who was always on the move, even borrowed her son’s shiny, low-slung Corvette once so she could take her Canadian driver’s test. She’d never driven the car before, and would never drive it again, but she remembered to stay on the right side of the road and passed her test. Canada had truly become her home. But Beryl’s love of England, much like her Yorkshire accent, never faded entirely. She made many trans-Atlantic trips to visit family and old friends. Even into her 80s, Beryl was up for adventure. When Claire and Steve moved to the U.K. to live and work for a year, Beryl flew over to explore London’s cobblestone streets by wheelchair and bumpy black cabs. She even made it to Windsor Castle, where the kind staff treated her like a Queen.
Special thanks to the staff at the Walkerton Hospital and Brucelea Haven, where Beryl had been cared for the past year. Memorial donations to the Heart & Stroke Foundation would be appreciated by the family.
A private celebration of Beryl’s life will be held for her family