Catherine S. Murray, 77, St. Joseph’s psychology professor

TO THOSE who knew her best, a son said, Catherine S. Murray was a "worker bee."

"She used to get up real early in the morning and get started," said son Marc. "She touched a lot of people. . . . Her life was really centered around her family . . . and her work life."

Murray, associate professor of psychology and director of graduate gerontology at St. Joseph's University, died of cancer Jan. 24. She was 77.

The daughter of Antoinette and Frank Savino, she was born in New York City and later moved to Woodside, Bucks County. She married Edward Murray in 1962; they later divorced.

After earning a doctorate in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, she taught at St. Joseph's from 1965 until her death. She was deeply involved in studying and teaching gerontology and gender equality.

Donald Leitner, chairman of the psychology department at St. Joseph's since 2004, said Murray entered the field in the early 1960s, when it was dominated by men. He added that she was diligent in teaching, scholarly research, and service - particularly the last.

"I have never seen anyone's record of service be as distinguished," Leitner said.

Leitner said Murray was strong-willed, and fought for more compensation and benefits for her colleagues.

"Catherine was a relentless advocate for the St. Joe's faculty," he said.

Murray was involved in several organizations during her teaching career. She directed the gender-studies program and chaired both the Commission on the Status of Women and the Steering Committee for the Comprehensive Curriculum Review in 2008. She received the steering committee's Lifetime Service Award in 2010.

Marc, 53, said his mom's work ethic and "problem solving" shaped his career. "I'm a worker bee, my mom was a worker bee," he said.

She was an avid runner and gardener, Marc added.

Besides her son, she is survived by another son, David; two brothers, Alex and Nick; and two grandchildren.

A memorial service was held Tuesday at St. Joseph's. A private memorial for family members is planned.


On Twitter: @Steve_Bohnel

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