Gerd was born June 17, 1921 to Borghild and Gerhard Helle in Bergen, Norway. She had two younger sisters, Astri and Borghild. Gerd attended college in Norway and, when the Germans invaded and occupied Norway in April of 1940, she also volunteered for the Red Cross and the Norwegian underground.
In 1946, after World War II and Norway was liberated from the German occupation in June of 1945, Gerd traveled by boat to the United States. She worked in the Norwegian Embassy for six months and then worked in the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York for two years. It was in New York where she met John Murphy, a lawyer from Kansas City who was traveling on business. They were married in 1948.
Gerd and John had four children: Mary Ellen, David, Susan and Stephen. She was a loving homemaker and, with the early passing of John, she undertook the added role of supporter as well. She was the anchor of the family. As two of her grandchildren have said: Gerd was the keeper of the flame. She tended the fire through her memories that made our family stronger. She also loved being with people and was an inspiration to all that surrounded her.
Gerd was predeceased by her parents, her husband John, her sisters Astri and Borghild, and her daughter Mary Ellen Cook. She is survived by her children David (Kris) Murphy of Oro Valley, AZ, Susan Murphy of Prairie Village, Stephen (Linda) Murphy of Wichita, KS, grandchildren Andrew, Bennett and Sonya Murphy and Jennifer Cook.
The family wants to thank Laurie Smith for the wonderful and loving care she provided for Gerd. Additionally, the staff at Addington Place and Ascend Hospice provided warm and loving care to Gerd. Gerd’s sons also want to acknowledge and are grateful for the countless hours of care and attention that our sister Susie gave to our mother Gerd over the years.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests calling a friend, paying them a visit or planning a lunch date. Gerd had that in her life with very special friends and it brought her much joy and delight! The family will be holding a celebration of life on Saturday, February 24, from 2 – 4. Please contact her daughter, Susan Murphy, for details.