Monnie Sue (Wilcoxson) Murtha of Baiting Hollow, N.Y., died of heart failure at East End Hospice’s Kanas Center for Hospice Care in Quiogue Monday, Aug. 27, 2018.
Born in Walcott, Ark. Feb. 13, 1934, she was 84. She was predeceased by her husband of 50 years, C. Rodman Murtha, and her parents, Avery and Pearlie (Newsom) Wilcoxson of Malden, Mo. Monnie is survived by two daughters, Cheryl (Kevin) Hewkin and Catherine Kent, both of Baiting Hollow; one son, Bryan (Sharon) of Owings, Md.; six grandchildren: Carrie (James) Murtha Jubane of Sunderland, Md., Travis Kent of Austin, Texas, Daniel Kent and Emma Kent, both of Baiting Hollow, Dylan Hewkin of Austin, Texas, and Marisa Hewkin of Brooklyn; and one great-grandson, Ethan Jubane.
Monnie attended Central Methodist College in Fayette, Mo., where she met and married the love of her life, Rod Murtha, a Mineola High School graduate from Williston Park, N.Y. Later, she graduated magna cum laude from Southampton College with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and English. Upon graduation, she began a distinguished career in education and completed a master’s degree in liberal studies from Stony Brook University.
Mrs. Murtha taught elementary school for 22 years in Riverhead School District, retiring as a beloved Riley Avenue teacher in 1991. She was a creative, gifted teacher, able to give students the individualized attention they needed to thrive. Her specialty was inspiring a love for reading and enabling students to find their voices as writers. She taught writing workshops, mentored many teachers, was Riverhead Teacher of the Year and a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, an international society for key women educators. She was active in the Riverhead Central Faculty Association, serving on the executive board and writing a humorous column for its “Newsbrief.” Later, she remained active by organizing monthly luncheons for retired Riley Avenue teachers.
A member of Baiting Hollow Congregational Church, Monnie participated in the church choir, women’s club, taught Sunday school, was a Girl Scout leader and on the board of deacons. She lived her Christian faith as a loving daughter, wife, mother and grandmother, and as a caregiver to her elderly mother and husband, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.
Monnie Sue was a bright, engaging person, a beauty queen known for her southern charm and love of people and conversation. She celebrated the arts, serving on the board of directors of the East End Arts Council, and followed local, state, and national issues by religiously reading newspapers. She enjoyed cooking, traveling, watching birds, working crossword puzzles and passed on her love for books to her children and grandchildren. She was a loyal friend with a generous heart, positive outlook, sassy spirit, and keen sense of humor. To know her was to love her — she will be greatly missed, most especially by her beloved family.
The family will receive visitors at Tuthill-Mangano Funeral Home in Riverhead Friday, Aug. 31, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral service will be at Baiting Hollow Congregational Church Saturday, Sept. 1, at 10 a.m. Burial will take place immediately afterwards in the church cemetery, followed by a luncheon at noon at the neighboring Baiting Hollow Club. All are welcome.
If desired, donations meaningful to Monnie can be given in lieu of flowers to the local community: the Riverhead Free Library: riverheadlibrary.org; The Butterfly Effect Project: bepgirls.org; or East End Arts: eastendarts.org.
This is a paid notice.