Doris Murphy, who became a matriarch to the entire town of Occidental, passed away earlier this week, just a few days after her 101st birthday. The North Bay Report visited with her just before her centennial a year ago, which was marked by big birthday bash at the Occident Center for the Arts. Today, we repeat that report.
When Joe Murphy first brought Doris from San Francisco to Occidental, he showed her the 18 acres of redwood-sheathed ridgetop he had purchased nearby. For more than two years thereafter, Doris recalls, their weekends were spent traveling to the remote property and constructing the solid green and white house with its large stone fireplace, where she has lived fulltime since about 1960.
Doris was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, but hitch-hiked south to San Francisco after graduating from Reed College in 1938. There she met Joe Murphy, the influential leader of the Hod Carriers Local 38 union, and a high-profile organizer for the International Workers of the World. But Doris insists that meeting Joe did not inspire her to change her politics.
This picture of Doris and Joe Murphy adorns the cover of Love and Labor, the lively autobiography she wrote at the age of 96.