Betty Murphy Betty "Salty" Murphy

First post: Apr 4, 2022
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Surrounded by her loving children, Elizabeth Jane (Salthouse) Murphy passed away peacefully on March 25 at the age of 91 from complications with Alzheimer’s. After the death of her mother, Betty moved to Woods Hole from Oyster Bay Cove on Long Island at the age of 9 to live with her grandmother, and next door to the family of her uncle. When her grandmother died, Betty took over many of the household duties at age 11, caring for her younger brother Jimmy. Her fierce independence, resilience and self-reliance served her well throughout her full life. 

At Lawrence High School, Betty was very active in life beyond the classroom, as Drum Majorette and basketball player, and as a choir member and Sunday school teacher at The Church of the Messiah. She worked multiple after-school, weekend, and summer jobs to enable her to go to college, the first of her family to do so. Betty earned her RN at the Mt. Auburn Hospital School of Nursing in Cambridge MA. Some of Betty’s favorite years were those at nursing school, where she became known as “Salty” to classmates that became lifelong friends.

Returning to Woods Hole after nursing school, she married Charles F. Murphy, who had followed in the tradition of many family generations of commercial fishermen. Husband Charlie was beloved in the fishing and scientific community, serving in his ‘retirement’ job as skipper of the Marine Biological Laboratory’s specimen boat, and delighting in taking the scientists out for day trips after a career of long and often dangerous trips in the Atlantic.

Charlie and Betty had three children, Charlie, Katie, and Laura, who they encouraged to follow in their mother’s path to college, each earning their own way, inspired by their parents’ examples of self-reliance and independence. Each had been encouraged to value education, to believe in themselves, and to be active in sports, activities, and in the community, with mom often leading the way in building the Christmas parade floats, serving as an election poll worker, and supporting her children in their endeavors.

After graduating from nursing school, Betty began her nursing career, first as a community outreach nurse with the VNA and later in the Falmouth school system examining the eyesight and hearing of multiple generations of schoolchildren.

When Betty lost her husband to cancer in 1986, she resolved to continue to be of service to others, becoming an outreach director at the Falmouth Senior Center until her retirement.

Throughout her life, Salty was passionate about sports; it was not unknown for multiple TVs and radios to be tuned into Bruins, Red Sox, Celtics, and Patriots games, simultaneously! An intense competitor herself, she became a Life Master in bridge. She traveled extensively throughout the world, feeding her eager interest to see the incredible diversity of cultures and lands abroad. One of her favorite adventures was in her late 60’s snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, having never snorkeled before!

Even into her 80’s, Salty joined her daughter and granddaughters as an active member of the Cape Cod Curling Club, enjoying the competition and camaraderie.

Betty is survived by her three children, Charles Edward Murphy, Katherine Anne Murphy (Chris Griner), Laura Murphy Moore (Charlie Moore), grandchildren Andrea Marie Murphy, Heather Murphy, Laura Murphy and Bryan Murphy Moore, and the children and grandchildren of her brother James Salthouse (deceased) and Peggy Salthouse. She is also survived by cousins and  her nieces and nephews and their families on her husband's side.

Services will be at 11AM on Thursday, April 21st at the Church of the Messiah in Woods Hole, MA. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Cape Cod Curling Club’s Andrea Marie Murphy Scholarship Fund ( or to the Alzheimer's Foundation.






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