Great Martha’s Vineyard Couples: Chris and Barbara Murphy

Originally posted on Aug. 27, 2014.

As fall approaches, and along with it the Island’s wedding season, some great Island couples tell us how they’ve made marriages last. This is the third in an occasional series that salutes the stamina, love, good will and compromise required of couples who stay together for a long time.

Barbara and Chris Murphy were married on September 6, 1969, at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church (OLSOS) in Oak Bluffs.

How did you meet? First day of Freshman Year at MVRHS in homeroom.

Barbara Thomas's senior picture in the MVRHS yearbook.
Barbara Thomas’s senior picture in the MVRHS yearbook.

Who proposed and how? That’s a tough one — I’m sure that Chris proposed, but I think he has another opinion! Since I’m writing this, I get the last word!

Describe your Vineyard wedding – My family (Mary and Bill Thomas and my sister, Anna, and brother, Bill) house was directly across from OLSOS church, and so we decided to have the reception in our yard rather than go through all the complications of going somewhere else. Louise Tate King catered the event with some wonderful culinary additions from friends and family. As with my sister’s wedding, my mother thought that the best way for me and my Maid of Honor — my sister, Anne — to cross from our house to the church was to use large white towels sewn together to make a bridal carpet from the house, across the park, and to the church doorway. Mom wrote the name of a family member or one of the wedding party on each towel, with the date of the wedding and Chris’s and my names. After the wedding she separated the towels and handed them out to each person so they could use them to go to the beach. She had done the same thing for my sister’s wedding in 1965.

Chris Murphy in the 1964 MVRHS yearbook.
Chris Murphy in the 1964 MVRHS yearbook.

How many children? Did any of them stay here? Two daughters: Hope and Mary. Both are married and live here with their husbands and children. Hope is the Intensive Needs Coordinator in the MV school system and is married to Chris MacLeod. They have two children, Finnegan, six (but almost seven) years old and Linden, five years old. Mary is the Assistant Principal at the West Tisbury Elementary School, and is married to Jonathan Boyd. They have one daughter, Emily, six years old.

Do you both work? We both did. Chris was a fisherman and I taught Spanish at MVRHS.

Briefly describe your years together – the good, the bad, and the wonderful….. We’ve had good years, some that were perhaps more difficult, but mostly we’ve been extremely lucky and have lived rich, rewarding lives.

Barbara and Chris Murphy at the Oak Bluffs wedding, September 6, 1969.
Barbara and Chris Murphy at the Oak Bluffs wedding, September 6, 1969.

Has the Vineyard been the best place to live your lives together? Yes.

Why? We were living in Rhode Island where I was teaching and Chris was fishing when Hope was born. We thought of moving to Alaska, Hawaii — we even considered a job in Kuwait. Then we looked at each other and realized we had two loving families waiting for us on Martha’s Vineyard and moved back here. A terrific decision!