San Antonio remembers 109-year-old community leader during homegoing service

Community looks back on the legacy of Gertha L. Murphy.

Family, friends and members of the community held a homegoing service for 109-year-old Gertha Murphy Saturday at Mt. Zion First Baptist Church in San Antonio.

SAN ANTONIO – Family, friends and members of the community held a homegoing service for 109-year-old Gertha Murphy Saturday at Mt. Zion First Baptist Church in San Antonio.

“Throughout all of her 109 years, she was in an organization in some way, giving back in some way,” said Yvonne Scott, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. sister of Murphy.

Murphy was born in 1913 and witnessed the historical changing landscape of Texas. Her family said she was committed to decades of community service and advocacy work in education and development.

“She went from one organization to the next and after her work in civil service, then she…went back to school. She graduated when she was 65. She went back to work,” said granddaughter Stephanie Scott.

Murphy graduated from St. Phillip’s College in 1936. Judge KP George of Fort Bend County signed and declared a proclamation in her name, recognizing her as the oldest alumna of the school at 108 years old.

Her family described her personality as “fiery and compassionate”. They said she had the wardrobe to match it. The cover of her obituary was framed as a Vogue magazine and the back as an Ebony magazine.

Gertha Murphy's Obituary Cover (The Family of Gertha Murphy)
Gertha Murphy's Obituary Back Cover (The Family of Gertha Murphy)

The design showcased her timeless beauty and fashionista style.

“She would match from head to toe,” said Scott.

Murphy’s great grandson, Richard White, shared her secret to long life. He explained being present in every moment contributed to her longevity.

“Take your time. You know, she lived until 109, so she definitely took her time,” said White.

Family and friends shared one of their favorite memories of Murphy. They said she kept her driver’s license active and drove herself around town until she was 105 years old.


About the Authors:

Allysa Cole is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in September 2022. She previously worked in the Rio Grande Valley at KGBT, KRGV and Azteca Valle. She started her career at WHPM FOX23 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, after graduating from University of Southern Mississippi. Allysa is a Detroit native.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.