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Hall Countys first female public official dies at age 91
Kathleen Murphy was teacher prior to politics
0225OBITkathleen murphy
Kathleen Murphy

Kathleen Murphy, the first female to be elected to public office in Hall County, died Wednesday. She was 91.

Murphy won a seat on the Hall County Schools Board of Education in 1983, and she served a second term that ended in 1990.

Her daughter, Patricia Suggs, recalled her mother's campaign.

"I remember all of her signs and bumper stickers were in purple; that was her favorite color," she said.

Before entering politics, Murphy taught for 32 years and was the first special education teacher in Hall County.

She began her career at Oakwood Elementary School and later worked as a special education teacher at Main Street Elementary School and South Hall High School.

Murphy was highly respected, said former colleague Jane Kesler, a teacher at South Hall High School.

"I was a young teacher, and she was an experienced teacher at the time. She was such a lady of common sense," Kesler said.

"She had a calm demeanor and when a problem arose, she had a common sense approach to it."
Murphy believed her years as an educator would give her keen insight to the needs of the school district, Suggs said.

"She had been in a classroom for many, many years. She felt she was qualified to help the children of Gainesville and Hall County and could be someone on the board who knew both sides," she said.

Murphy proceeded to serve offices for the Georgia Education Association and National Education Association, Suggs added.

"She was a very strong and capable woman, and she raised her children to be the same," she said.

Murphy is survived by six children, 10 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and six siblings.

Visitation will be 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Friday at Memorial Park Funeral Home at 2030 Memorial Park Road in Gainesville. Funeral services are set for 3 p.m. Saturday in the funeral home's chapel.