August 3, 1950 – September 6, 2019
Susan departed this life suddenly and unexpectedly in Nanaimo on September 6, 2019. She will be profoundly missed by her family and wide circle of friends. Survived by her husband Robert Murphy, stepdaughters Shannon Gavin (Jason), Karen Ito (Todd), and half-brothers Rob and Ron MacLean.
Susan was born in Winnipeg and adopted by Bill and Viola Dyer. She grew up in Minnedosa, a small community in rural western Manitoba. She had a passion for learning, fostered by her parents, and throughout her school years, she won several awards in both academics and sports. She graduated from Brandon University with a major in Sociology and minor in Psychology. She completed the final three courses for her BA and earned a certificate in Education from the University of Manitoba in 1972.
Susan began working for the Public Service of Canada as a casual clerk with the Post Office Department in the early 1970s. An energetic and productive employee, she was promoted to officer level and eventually moved on to the Department of Public Works, where she worked towards and obtained her Certified Management Accounting designation.
After completing a Federal Government intensive three-month executive training program, she took on an Executive Interchange with the Province of Manitoba as a Senior Analyst in the Treasury Board, then Director of Finance, followed by appointment as a permanent employee, and later, appointment as Assistant Deputy Minister of Corporate Services in the Ministry of Health.
In late 1999, Susan was recruited to the position of Vice President, Corporate Services in a health authority headquartered in Nanaimo BC, and in January 2000, she and her husband Bob relocated to the beautiful east coast of Vancouver Island.
Susan had been a member of the University Women’s Club of Winnipeg prior to the move, and upon arrival in Nanaimo, she transferred her membership to the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) Nanaimo where she took on many roles including Vice President 2002-2004, President from 2004-2006, Regional Director for Vancouver Island 2006-2008. She was Vice President British Columbia and President of BC Council from 2008-2012. Susan was National President from 2012-14. Susan was also a Trustee on the CFUW Charitable Trust from 2012- 2016.
Susan wanted to help kick off the CFUW 100th anniversary campaign to raise an additional $100,000 for scholarships and fellowships. She and her long-time friend, Monika Oepkes, went walking on the Camino, completing a 22-day 500-km trek to Santiago de Compostela, in the late summer of 2014. The pair raised nearly $18,000 for the Charitable Trust, and the walk and CFUW were chronicled in the Globe and Mail in their column called “Giving Back”.
In addition to her countless contributions to CFUW, Susan worked tirelessly for other organizations. Notably, she served on the boards of The United Way (Nanaimo President 2002 – 2004), the Nanaimo Area Land Trust, Haven Society, and the Canadian Mental Health Association. She volunteered weekly at Loaves and Fishes.
Susan was a brilliant woman, highly intelligent, creative, dedicated to whatever she set her mind to, super-organized, interested in world affairs and current events, loved a good debate, and not reticent to put forward her opinions and thoughts. She was an avid hiker. She was an active member of three book clubs. She was a member of the Nanaimo Golf Club and enjoyed golfing as often as she could. She believed whole-heartedly in building friendships, helping others, volunteering, giving generously of herself and her time, mentoring, encouraging others, bringing out the best in individuals, making every person feel special, and above all, inclusiveness. She was one of those rare, genuine persons, whom all of her friends and acquaintances were proud and honoured to have known.
In keeping with her wishes, there will be no service. Cremation has taken place and her ashes will be scattered as she requested. Susan was planning to celebrate her 70th birthday with a gathering of her friends next summer. We are planning to carry out that wish as well. All of her friends will be welcome to drop in to the Nanaimo Golf Club between 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm on August 3, 2020. Save the date and plan to come by.
Those of you who may share Susan’s passion for education for girls and women might like to contribute to the CFUW Nanaimo Scholarship Fund. Details can be found at www.cfuwnanaimo.org
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