Published: May 16, 2016
Born in Dallas, Texas, on May 21, 1931, to Samuel Newcom Murphey and Dr Phelps John Murphey, she graduated from the Hockaday School in Dallas in 1948, attended Mary Baldwin College in Stanton, Va., and graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1953.
Patsy moved to Stamford in 1961, which was her home for the next 55 years and where she raised her three children, Bruce Nairn Whitman Jr, Stewart Lane Whitman II of Greenwich, Conn., and John Newcom Whitman, also of Greenwich.
A devoted mother and grandmother, Patsy pursued a wide variety of other interests. She was an accomplished club tennis player who won the 1967 Ladies Singles Championship at the Stanwich Club in Greenwich. A longtime parishioner of St Francis Episcopal Church in Stamford, Patsy served as lector, lay chalice bearer, altar guild member, co-chair of the inaugural antiques show, coordinator of spring Quiet Mornings and leader of the weekly Morning Prayer service.
Patsy also engaged in a number of professional pursuits, which included working as a realtor in Stamford, purchasing French furniture and collectibles for resale in the United States and co-founding and operating The Chicken Coop, a mail-order catalog business featured in House & Garden magazine, and Every Day Living, an antiques and collectibles shop in Greenwich.
Everything and everyone in Patsy’s life was touched by her expansive heart, boundless creativity and sense of beauty. Her enduring passion for the arts was realized first as an early advisory board member of PS (Painting Space) 122 in New York City, and then as owner/director of PMW Gallery, which she opened in Stamford in 1985 and exhibited the work of nearly 200 professional artists in 105 exhibitions over the ensuing 32 years. She was widely known and respected for her keen interest in the development of individual artists, her curatorial insight and a gift for installation that encouraged viewers to look at art with new eyes.
In addition to her three sons, Patsy is survived by her beloved companion and life partner of 19 years, Elizabeth Adams of Stamford, her daughters-in-law, Susan Murphy Whitman and Colleen Orr Whitman, her grandchildren, Susan Samuel Whitman, Denise (Didi) Murphy Whitman, Kathleen Murphey Whitman, Stewart Lane Whitman III, Juliann Newcom Whitman, Natalie Ann Whitman and Sonia Josephine Whitman, all of Greenwich, as well as by her Houston niece and nephews, Mary Jane (Suzie) Harmon, Francis Gilmer Harmon III, Phelps John Murphey Harmon and William Thomas Harmon, and their families. Her beloved sister, Mary Jane Murphey Harmon, predeceased her.
A memorial service took place June 18. Contributions in Patsy’s memory may be directed to St Francis Episcopal Church at 703 Old Long Ridge Road, Stamford CT 06903, and/or to the Rockingham Arts & Museum Project (RAMP) at 11 Canal Street, Bellows Falls VT 05101, or online at www.ramp-vt.org/ramp/donation.
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