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Kathleen M. Murphy


Kathleen M. (Kate) Murphy, 70, of Skaneateles, NY, died October 3, 2012 at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. She battled hereditary colorectal cancer and MS beginning in 1983 and spent her last 17 years serving other patients and families, and working as a research advocate with “Fightcolorectal Cancer.”

Born and raised in Norwich, NY, and the first of five daughters of William and Harriett (Scott) Brunig, Kate was a devout Episcopalian and always credited Emmanuel Church for her lifelong values: pacifism, child development, women’s rights, service to the poor and, later, care for others with cancer.

Kate was a National Merit Scholarship finalist and salutatorian at Norwich High School (1960). She earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Buffalo, and after college taught math in Buffalo and Pittsburgh until she returned to Norwich where she worked for Head Start. Kate was also Executive Director of the YWCA of Binghamton, NY (1980-85) and then of the Consortium for Children’s Services, Syracuse, NY (1985-94). She retired from the Syracuse Community Health Center in 1995.

After retirement Kate’s work as a “patient-advocate” in colorectal cancer became her passion. She joined the Association of Cancer Online Resource (ACOR) and, later, helped found the Colon Cancer Alliance (Washington, DC) in 1999, and Fight Colorectal Cancer (Alexandria, VA) in 1995 where she worked as Director of Research Communications until her death.

Kate marched for peace in every decade of her adult life, was a published poet, took in rescue dogs with her husband, Tom, was an avid swimmer, and loved travel by train and sailing on Skaneateles Lake. Most of all, her granddaughter, Sophia, was a gift who made her smile constantly.

Kate is survived by her husband Thomas P. Murphy of Skaneateles; two sons, Christopher Cima of Daytona Beach, FL, and Donald (Cynthia) Cima of Derry, NH, and little Sophia. She is also survived by four sisters, Barbara (Roland) Thomas, Clayton, NY; Linda (Charles) Hanson, Norwich; Candice (Renwick) Russell, Walton, NY; and Elizabeth (Anders) Bergfjord, Cooperstown, NY; aunts Verda Corbin, Clayton, NY and Helen (Richard) Dombrowsky, Liverpool, NY; uncle Melvin Scott, Los Angeles, CA, as well as many nieces and nephews and a network of CRC patients, survivors, families, providers and advocates all across the country.

Funeral services will take place at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, October 13, 2012, at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, in Norwich, with Rev. Charles Taylor, pastor, officiating. Friends may call at the Wilson Funeral Home on Saturday from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. Interment will be private at a later date. Contributions in Kate’s memory may be made to one of her favorite causes, the Fight CRC’s “Lisa Fund,” 1414 Prince Street, Suite 204, Alexandria, VA 22314.

To leave a message of condolence to the family, please visit:

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