Barbara Gail Murphy

March 23, 1945October 10, 2020

Barbara Murphy, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, passed away on October 10, 2020, after a sudden and brief illness, at the University of Michigan Hospital. Barbara was born in Brooklyn, New York, on March 23, 1945, to Alfred and Rose Steinberg. She grew up in Queens, New York and graduated from Jamaica High School and moved to Ann Arbor to attend the University of Michigan when she was sixteen. Barbara married former spouse Bill Murphy in 1965. She graduated with a BA in Linguistics and Psycholinguistics in 1967 and continued with Graduate work in Educational Psychology. Always politically engaged, Barbara was an early member of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), where she made life-long friendships. Barbara made Ann Arbor’s Old West Side her home - where, since 1964, she was a beloved neighbor, friend, and activist - and the University of Michigan her professional home. Her thirty-three-year career with the University of Michigan began in 1967 as an editor at the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations, later secretary at the Institute for Social Research, Survey Research Center, followed by positions as a Computer Consultant, Procedures Analyst and ultimately Research Associate at the Institute. Active in the early days of the Women’s Initiatives, she served as Assistant Chair of the Commission for Women, Office of the University President (1974–1977) and in positions in the Office of Affirmative Action. Barbara took a four-year hiatus from UM to serve as Director of the Equal Opportunities Office at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. She returned to the UM and served as Administrative Manager of the School of Natural Resources (1984-1990), and after that, Assistant to the Dean for Budget and Personnel in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (1990-2000), the position from which she retired. Through both her professional work and her community service Barbara exercised her passion for working for a socially just world and she consulted for a variety of government and non-profit organizations including Washtenaw County Assault Crisis Center, the Federal Programs Advisory Service and the Health and Human Services "Higher Education and the Handicapped" project in Washington, DC. Throughout, Barbara’s many volunteer commitments included serving on the Boards of the Guild House Campus Ministries, Old West Side Association, and the Huron Valley Girl Scout Council Finance Committee. She was elected for three terms to be a member of the Ann Arbor District Library Board of Trustees. Barbara Murphy was, personally and professionally, a force to be reckoned with! She was a resourceful, spirited, generous, truth-telling, playful friend to hundreds of people near and far, and a great lover of many cats. She made her home on Second Street a welcome and nourishing space for connection, laughter, and wonderful food for over 50 years. Barbara traveled extensively and enthusiastically. Early in her career in she spent fifteen months at the Turkish Development Foundation, Ankara, Turkey assessing needs for computer software systems and systems analysis. In 1977, while visiting Britain, Germany and France, she met her husband-to-be, Gavin, in Scotland. They each traversed the Atlantic several times before Gavin emigrated to the US in 1979. Barbara married Gavin Ramsay Eadie in Ann Arbor on November 16, 1984. Subsequently, Barbara and Gavin made many journeys together, often with friends, to Britain, Alaska, Antarctica, Australia, Italy, France, the Galapagos Islands, Turkey and the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea and nearby countries. A graveside service, officiated by long-time friend Julie Gales, was held, and Barbara laid to rest, on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, at the Arborcrest Memorial Park, 2521 Glazier Way, Ann Arbor, MI 48105. At some later date her life will celebrated publicly. She is survived by her husband, Gavin Eadie, her sister Lynda Steinberg (Tony Jiga) of Manhattan, New York, and her niece Alexandra Jiga (Geoff Abbott) of Rockland, Maine. Contributions may be made to the ACLU of Michigan: 2966 Woodward Avenue Detroit, MI 48201 You may leave memories of Barbara at:


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Barbara Gail Murphy

have a memory or condolence to add?

Kathe Harrison

October 29, 2020

I met with Barbara in answer to an ad posted in the local paper. Although the interview began with other employees, it ended up following a long discussion with Barbara about my interests, experience, etc.
We ended up talking about cats. I was trapping wild kittens and taming them down so they could be adoped. I had emptied out a closet and made it a cat home. I took naps with the kittens and eventually they grew to trust me. She was enthralled with that and proceeded to tell me all her cat stories. It was the most interesting interview I have ever had. She became my mentor, teaching me so much about LSA and what was expected of me. I will never forget her.

Sue Henderson

October 28, 2020

Barbara was a good family friend to all the Greens for many years. Although her first connections were to my mother, Lila Green, Barbara became a surrogate aunt to all five Green kids. Gavin became our kilt wearing surrogate uncle. Gavin and my father, Robert Green, became close after Barbara and Lila introduced them. My father would often say that while Barbara and Lila would sing and tap dance and be silly, he and Gavin would engage in "rich intellectual dialogue". Barbara and Gavin attended all our Bat/Bar Mitzvot and graduations and weddings and they both became a true part of our family. Barbara literally would "light up a room" when she would enter. Barbara would radiate energy, enthusiasm and kindness to all in attendance be it 5, 50 or 500. Ann Arbor will not be the same without her. Gavin you honor her life and memory with yours. Love, Sue Green Henderson

Odile Hugonot-Haber

October 27, 2020

Barbara, lived close by, she was a wonderful person, she spoke French with me and came to visit me with Gavin in France.
She was curious and knowledgeable about many subjects. I took her for granted because we lived so close. I regret not spending more time with her, Gavin is still there.
Sending love in the universe for her.
Odile Hugonot Haber.

Dan and Marsha Gamble

October 26, 2020

Barbara was a valued friend and colleague of mine for many years at UM. Regrettably, too much of our time together was during negotiations or at caucuses.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you Gavin.

Dan and Marsha Gamble


October 24, 2020

Barbara has been one of my dearest friends for almost 60 years despite sometimes long gaps between contacts. We first met in Voice-SDS back in 1962 and became close friends. She helped me study for my French language final in 1963. Her homes after she escaped the UMich dorms were always welcoming places and I always visited whenever I passed through Ann Arbour. It's hard to imagine that that won't ever be possible again.

Charles Sisung

October 12, 2020

Oh my. I am reminded of my short but most enjoyable time living on 2nd Street in the Old West Side. Barbara and Gavin are a big part of those memories. Good people. Good conversation. Always good food.
Gavin you are in my thoughts. Know that Barbara meant a lot to so many.


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