Evelyn Majors Murphree was born on November 22, 1940, to Luther and Lurel Majors in the Stark community in what would eventually become Greers Ferry, Arkansas. On August 9, 2023, she closed her eyes to this world and opened them in the next to spend eternity, traveling the scenic heavenly highways with her family after a valiantly fought battle with dementia.
She grew up in the same community all her life and attended the newly consolidated West Side Schools where she excelled in studies, played basketball, was a member of the School Paper Staff and FHA and was awarded the West Side Citizenship Award in 1959. It is no surprise she was also voted neatest girl. It was in high school where she would meet the love of her life, Keith Murphree. First voted cutest couple in 1958, everyone already new Keith and Evelyn would end up spending their lives together. Her parents insisted she graduate high school before getting married, so they tied the knot, an hour before her High School Graduation, in a double ceremony with Nell and Carl Whitehurst at the home of Clarence Murphree, her soon to be Father-In-Law. Keith loved to comment they never got married because he was to scared to say “I do”. There were married 63 years until Keith’s death on August 26,2022.
Immediately after Graduation, she moved with her new husband to Peoria, Illinois where Keith worked at the Caterpillar Plant. That was the beginning of several moves throughout their marriage following Keith where employment lead. He was a truck driver who spent most of his carrier over the road whether it was working for a company or an independent operator. This meant Evelyn learned quickly how to manage a household, pay the bills, keep the home fires burning while he was gone, and pack up a house when it was time to move for the next adventure. She could manage anything and was known by family and friends to run a tight ship, keep a spotless house and yard and most of the time did a great deal of the inside and outside work herself.
Evelyn was a force to be reckoned with and a woman ahead of her time. While Keith was on the road all the daily decision making fell to her. This didn’t stop when they had their first daughter, Cynthia Marie, born July 19, 1960. Quickly, after only 18 months, her second daughter Pamela Kay was born on January 17, 1962. Evelyn and Keith eventually settled in Southaven, MS where they would stay until both girls graduated High School and finished college. Evelyn worked 3rd shift full time at Shultons, making Old Spice, Brek for over 30 years, all while cooking and preparing every meal for the girls when they were not in school. Luther and Lural taught her how to pinch a penny and she scrimped and saved all her life. She fixed picnic lunches for every trip to be eaten in the Econoline Van or interstate rest area with Keith and her girls (Janet included). Evelyn brought home the bacon, fried it up in the pan, fed it to her family, cleaned up the mess and was ready to do it again, day in and day out.
Evelyn loved to travel as much as Keith. They spent many vacations on the nation’s highways seeing historical landmarks, mountains, valleys and beaches. They always had funny stories that had everyone in stitches. They took the girls and their “no blood daughter Janet” all over this country. When the girls got older and moved out, they took trips on their own, just the two of them. Evelyn was notorious among their traveling friends, having nerves of steel. It was hard for Uncle Keith to ruffle her feathers when he was behind the wheel, though he never gave up trying. High peaks, narrow bridges, water up to the roadside, driving 24-30 hours straight through… she was always at his side in the vehicle, riding shotgun. Her seat raised as high as it would go so she could see better. They owned Motorhomes and 5th Wheels and traveled North, South, East and West. They had jeeps and Broncos and went 4-wheeling in the Rocky Mountains and the Smoking Mountains for years with a group of friends. In their later years they would drive 25 miles down dirt roads to look for wild horses to watch on the plains of Colorado and Montana; or 25 miles down the road to buy banana blast popsicles. Wintering close to the Mexican Border in Palm View, TX was something they looked forward to doing every year. They were still talking about their next trip when Keith passed away. Evelyn drove over 100,000 miles in the months after Keith died, with her caregivers and niece. She woke up every day ready for another adventure on the road. She was blessed to be able to do this until a few weeks before her death.
Evelyn possessed a particular strength of person and character her entire life. Simply put she was one of the strongest women out there. She buried her father and mother, Luther and Lurel, her brother, Sonny Majors, both of her beautiful daughters, Cindy and Pam. Less than a year ago, she buried her loving husband, traveling partner and side kick. Often, you could hear her lament she didn’t know why they had to go so soon, but she always followed it up with saying that she had to go on because it was the only thing she could do. She taught so many of us how to love, how to stand strong in troubled times, how to offer a good laugh and direction if needed and how to be the best Daughter, Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother, Aunt, and Friend she could be.
She leaves behind the following family to cherish her memory. Janet and Jerry Sweeting (The No Blood Daughter); Granddaughters Whitney Loe and Mallory (Matt) Thompson; Nephew Michael Murphree and Niece Becky Murphree. A multitude of cousins from the Majors family and special friends such as Wilma Lou Hartsfield, Shelby Cothren and many, many more.
She would like to thank the following people for being her constant companions these past 14 months: Linda Mcmickle (Ms Linda) and Echo Pinard from Home Instead along with Kathy Bates and Cindy Phillips. There are not enough words to express how grateful her family feels toward all of you. You met her every need, you drove hundreds and thousands of miles and made sure, once Keith couldn’t, keep his Baby Doll content and on the road again. His one wish was for her to be able to stay at home as long as she could and have as much joy in life as possible. Thanks to you, his wish was answered.
She is buried in Shiloh Crossroads Cemetery, Greers Ferry, Arkansas. Services were performed by Family Funeral Services. The visitation will be on Monday, August 14, 2023 from 6:00 until 8:00 PM at Family Funeral Service and funeral services will be on Tuesday, August 15, 2023 at 10:00 AM at Shiloh Crossroads Cemetery in Greers Ferry, Arkansas.
If you would like to memorialize Evelyn, please send donations to:
Shiloh Crossroads Cemetery Fund
In Memory of Evelyn Majors Murphree
890 Shiloh Rd
Greers Ferry, AR 72067