A true nurturer at heart, Josephine Murphy lived to love and serve others. She devoted her life to caring for her loved ones as being a wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother brought her the greatest joy she had ever known. Although the way before her was not always easy, Josephine was content in all things, carrying herself with graceful courage and a quiet strength that is to be admired. Life will never be the same without Josephine here, but the priceless memories she created alongside her loved ones will be treasured for years to come.
It was great to be an American during the Roaring Twenties. Baseball came alive with legends like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb, the lights of Broadway never shined brighter, and Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh took us soaring above the clouds. It was just prior to the historic crash of the stock market in October of 1929 that a young couple from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was pleased to announce the birth of their baby girl on May 24th of the same year. Josephine Mary was the fifth of eight children born to her parents, Samuel and Jennie (Muccio) Alioto. She was raised in an Italian Catholic family in the Old Third Ward in the prominent Italian community alongside her older siblings, Rose, Polly, Nina, Joey and Theresa, and her younger siblings, Sam and Frances.
As a result of the stock market crash, the years that followed were cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression when countless families across the country struggled to make ends meet. The Alioto family was not immune from the strain, and at times Josephine’s mother worked outside of the home at the local phone company, which meant that the children needed to help run the home and care for the younger children. Josephine attended local schools, but only through the seventh grade as she was needed at home.
During her years as a teenager, new and exciting changes were in store for Josephine when she met the young man who stole her heart. His name was George Murphy, and since he was not Catholic, which her mother would not approve of, she needed to sneak around in order to see him. When the couple discovered that they were expecting, they quickly ran to the justice of the peace and were married on April 2, 1952. Because her parents were upset, Josephine and George moved in with his family until they were able to move out on their own to Lyon St. on Milwaukee’s East Side. Their family grew to include George Jr., Richard, and with the birth of daughter, Rose, their family of five was complete. Josephine and George later renewed their vows on May 31, 1958, at St. Rita Catholic Church on the East Side.
From the time she became a mother, it seemed to be a role that was tailor made just for Josephine. Her family appreciated her cooking, and she was great at providing everything her family needed as well. Josephine kept a clean and tidy home as there was a place for everything and everything in its place, and she didn’t hesitate to put something back where it belonged either.
While her children were growing up she focused her attention at home, and once they were older she began working. For a time Josephine worked cleaning a local restaurant, Trovato’s. She later worked for Sally Papia at Sally’s Steak House, and she also cleaned homes part-time, too.
Extended family played an important role in Josephine’s life as well. When she and George bought a duplex on Buffum Street in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood, Josephine, George and the kids lived in the upper flat, while her mother and brother, Sam, and sister, Theresa, lived in the lower flat. Weekends and holidays were centered on family, which was only made easier when they all lived in the same building.
The things Josephine enjoyed were only made better when they were shared with her loved ones. She loved any and all parades, and she made it a point to take her children, and later her grandchildren, to every parade in the area including the Great Circus Parade and the Christmas parade. Josephine also liked attending the various church festivals. She loved shopping at the Grand Avenue Mall downtown after work, and her children and grandchildren were always more than willing to accompany her. Josephine was known to pick up a little something for her loved ones, often a special treat from Quality Candy. She always made the best Easter baskets, too, filled with goodies from Quality Candy. Josephine was continually on the lookout for ways that she could help others, never asking for anything – except maybe a ride to Bingo on the weekends or to the casino to play the slots.
Life was not without times of trial for Josephine. She was deeply saddened with the loss of her husband on June 22, 1991, just a short time into their retirement years. Steadied by the love of her family, Josephine moved in with her daughter shortly thereafter. Josephine suffered another devastating blow with the death of her son, Richard, when he was only 46 years old. During the weeks, months, and years that followed, she focused on her precious grandchildren. Josephine was equally thrilled with the births of her eight great-grandchildren. Doting over these younger generations was her favorite pastime.
As the friends and family of Josephine Murphy can attest, she was always busy doing something. She was a hard worker to be sure, and providing for her family was her greatest inspiration. Josephine’s proudest accomplishments were found in the faces of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She will be dearly missed and warmly remembered.
Josephine M. Murphy died on November 13, 2013. Josephine’s family includes her children, George (the late Helen) Murphy and Rose (Robert) Rugg; siblings, Frances (Ronnie) Marvin and Sam Alioto; 6 grandchildren, Jackie, Christopher, James, George, Stephanie, and Kevin; 8 great-grandchildren, Haggie, Antonio, Demonte, Jenessa, Janya, Jadan, James, and Michael; and other relatives and friends. Josephine was preceded in death by her beloved husband, George Murphy; son, Richard Murphy; sisters, Rose Guibourd, Polly Kallas, Nina Collura, Theresa Alioto; and brother, Joey Alioto. Visitation Thursday, November 21, at the Funeral Home from 4:00 p.m. until time of the Funeral Service at 7:00 p.m. Interment Holy Cross Cemetery. Suminski Family Funeral Home, 1901 N Farwell Ave. 414-276-5122. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to leave a memory or sign the online guestbook.