In Memory of





Obituary for Betty J. Murphy (Gaston)


With profound sadness and celebration of a life lived well, we announce the passing of our beloved Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, Aunt and friend, Betty Murphy. She went onto her Heavenly reward peacefully the morning of March 2nd, with daughters, Michaela and Melissa, and son-in-law Edward holding her hands. Just hours before, Betty recited Psalm 116, a true reflection of her beautiful faith, admirable strength, and heart at peace.

Born at home in Gracemont in the county of Anadarko Oklahoma, to Pearl Mae (Pace) and J.W. (Duck) Gaston, Betty Jo arrived on the scene, March 9, 1934. Alongside her brother Leon, 4 years older, the Gaston family was complete.

In grade school, the Gastons moved to Peoria Arizona where family was living and farming. Eventually making their way to Phoenix where little Betty was surrounded by her large extended family playing with cousins and having fried chicken dinners and cobbler every Sunday, the gift of hospitality was planted early in Betty’s life.

Betty was a very gifted student, always top of her class, and a year ahead of everyone. She excelled in stenography, and at 17, began using her skills while working for the President of Prudential Insurance and later for the Remington Rifle company. Betty had her writing language that she used up until her passing. Those in her life also received thoughtful, beautifully written letters over the years as her penmanship was stunning and graceful. She was a life-long learner, and retained it all, even assisting her husband Paul by writing down and typing out his Master’s thesis so he could graduate.

Having lived and breathed music from a young age, Betty, a mezzo-soprano was discovered early on in high school and had a vocal coach that encouraged her to pursue Operatic performance. She married instead and continued her vocal and music training later in Los Angeles. In her college music studies, she was also a trained director and eventually served as the Choir Director and soloist for a notably large choir leading two of John Petersens’ cantatas every year for Easter and Christmas. Betty continued to sing the rest of her life, which always gave ‘goose bumps’ to her family at hearing her amazing voice, vocal range and perfect pitch.

After attending the local Baptist church, Betty, at age 14 was asked to write to Paul who was training as a Marine in the Korean War. This was the beginning of a tender friendship that blossomed into a devout and lasting love. At age 19, Betty Jo Gaston, wed Paul Eugene Murphy in June of 1953, resulting in 61 cherished years of marriage.

Shortly after their betrothal, the newlyweds moved from Phoenix to Los Angeles area for Paul’s schooling in higher education. What began out of necessity and hard work to pay the bills, transformed them into true entrepreneurs owning rental properties, fast food restaurants, and a car wash/laundromat. Paul was known as the visionary in their relationship, and Betty would make their dreams a reality with precision, perfection and care. But their greatest life’s work together, was raising in love, their three daughters Diane, Michaela, and Melissa.

Together, they built their dreams in both California and Oregon. In 1969, Paul and Betty became the proud owners of the Oregon Hill Ranch where they learned a new trade of raising cattle, chickens, horses, hay, bees, and living the ranch life on a palette of 126 acres of lush oak trees. Betty’s green thumb continued to have flowers and life blooming all around the Ranch up until her passing, where she found joy in the daily visitors, human and animal alike. Hummingbirds, deer and cats seemed to always feel at home in Betty’s care, not just living, but thriving.

Whether riding a tractor wearing Chanel parfum or shooting a gun with both precision and perfectly styled hair, Betty was a force to be reckoned with. Her class and grace paired well with her thoughtful zingers and clever mind.

Betty’s hobbies included, but were not limited to, perfecting bread & pies, churning butter/homemade ice cream, candy, cake decorating, classic cinema, country-western music, gardening, operatic singing, or a speedy game of dominos. One might think she hailed from England, with her admiration for tea time and British humor.

Betty and Paul were founding members of Grace Baptist Church (now Grace Church of Glendora) where in their early 20’s, they became leaders of the Youth Group, always taking their daughters with them to their functions.

Continuing to put her faith into action, Betty and Paul remained actively involved in two other churches over the years: EMB and Faith Evangelical Free Church, both in Dallas, OR. Women’s Ministries in particular were close to her heart and in latter years, Betty would lead music while volunteering at the Dallas Retirement Village with Paul teaching.

Whether you were meeting Betty for the first time, or a lifelong friend, Betty desired to know you and found her purpose in showing love, kindness and privately praying for others. Strangers were drawn to Betty and over time many became fast friends, by how she would always listen and give her best. This translated into service, volunteering, and simply showing up for those in need. Betty was faithful.

Betty is survived by her daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and grand-doggies in this life, but her joyful spirit lives on as a light for us all. We picture Betty singing as she is reunited with Paul and her beloved family and friends in the presence of her Lord.

Betty will be laid to rest with Paul, her Marine, at "Willamette National Cemetery"
11800 SE Mt. Scott Boulevard
Portland, OR 97086
Friday 24 March 2023 at 1:30pm

A celebration of Betty’s Life & Legacy will be held at "BeckenRidge Vineyard”
300 Reuben Boise Road
Dallas, OR 97338
Saturday 25 March 2023 at 3pm
(dessert and fellowship to follow)

Her remaining family members include:

Diane Engstrom of Dallas, OR and their children: Annalisa (Forrest) Keyes & their two children of Kent, WA, Allison (Nathan) Parks of Coeur d'Alene, ID & their four children, and Andrew (Melissa Renee) Engstrom & four children of Seattle, WA;

Michaela Gaston Morgan and her puppy-daughter, Chanel of Dallas, OR & Montecito, CA;

Melissa (Edward) Murphy-Terry of Salem, OR and their daughters: Aurora Terry (Fiancee’ Mark Grappel) of Hillsboro, OR, Arianna Terry world traveler and August Terry of Salem, OR;

And her additional chosen daughters Beverly (Rand) Peters of Franklin, TN and their two children, David & Page and Lianne (Dane) Leach of McMinnville, OR and their three children, Shem, Oz & little Bettie.

Cousin Sam (Debby) Gaston of Birmingham, AL; Her precious & ornery nephew Patrick (Cynthia) Murphy of Albany, OR; Beloved nieces Linda (Bill) Hill of Phoenix, AZ, Sheri Gaston Ramsey of Scottsdale, AZ, Shelley (Mike) Murphy Sarason of Mt. Shasta, CA, Pam, Michelle & Becky Murphy, and many extended family members.

Betty’s favorite local charity
“James 2 Community Kitchen” Dallas, OR