Elisabeth Murphy Alford
Elisabeth Murphy Alford
  • May 18, 1936 - February 18, 2017
  • West Columbia, South Carolina

Share This Obituary

COLUMBIA - A funeral service for Elisabeth “Libby” Murphy Alford, 80, will be held at 10:00 a.m. Friday, February 24, 2017, at Shandon Presbyterian Church, with visitation at the church following the service. Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, is assisting the family.

Mrs. Alford died Saturday, February 18, 2017. Born in Columbia, she was a daughter of the late Thomas Fredrick Murphy and Rhetta Smith Murphy. She graduated from the University of S.C. with a Ph.D. in English. Her passion was teaching and helping others to achieve their potential. She was instrumental in developing and enhancing programs within the S.C. Hospital Association. She wrote and was awarded grants for numerous projects to enhance healthcare in South Carolina. She was instrumental in the development of the statewide Emergency Medical Services Plan. In 1958, Libby was the first woman to be admitted as a special student at Harvard University. This was the first instance since its founding that a woman had been admitted to the Harvard College of Arts and Sciences and the first time a woman had been accepted for undergraduate study in any division of the University.

Libby had lots of intellectual adventures in her life. She was hired by the school of Engineering to create a Writing Center for their students. And, building on that work, her accomplishments created a program which provided a place for graduate students in English and Engineering to work together, and learn to communicate about the complex research they were doing with their professors. Libby had the amazing capacity to “speak” Engineering!

Out of that work came one of her career highlights; a presentation at the 2005 Conference of the European Association for the Teaching of Academic Writing in Athens, Greece.

She was a Master gardener and loved every opportunity to get dirty. Libby was also a proud member of Shandon Presbyterian Church for many years.

Her grandchildren and great-grandson were especially dear to her and she never missed an opportunity to mentor and promote their development.

Surviving are her son, Jamie Alford (Kathie) of Lake Marion; grandson, Edward “Breck” Burch (Erin) of Cameron; granddaughter, Kate Gipson Alford of Orlando; and great-grandson, Edward Monts Burch. She was predeceased by husband, James “Jim” Alford.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Pastor’s Discretionary Fund, Shandon Presbyterian Church, 607 Woodrow Street, Columbia, SC 29205.

Please sign the online guestbook at www.dunbarfunerals.com.