Memorial Tree Honors an Arbor Resources Pioneer

April 30, 2024

The Bedford Arbor Resources Committee on Saturday honored the memory of a longtime resident who was central to the panel’s origin.

Members sponsored a tree-planting to salute Rachel Murphy, who died almost five months ago. 

The idea to recognize Murphy was advanced by Don Marshall, a former Arbor Resources member, who noted that more than 20 years ago Murphy was instrumental in the committee’s formation.

The site chosen was the playground at the end of Eliot Road in Bedford Gardens. The park is named for James F. Sullivan, a longtime town volunteer and plumbing inspector.

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Murphy’s four children, Crystal, Dawn, Denita, and Eddie IV, greeted former neighbors from their old Hilda Road homestead and other family friends as well as folks who live around the playground.

“Rachel was so instrumental in her advocacy for trees, even when people didn’t want to hear about it,” said committee Chair Molly Haskell. She added that the Department of Public Works “gets the credit” for ensuring that the tree flourishes, thanks to its recently-acquired watering truck. 

“We’re looking forward to planting more here,” Haskell said.

Denita Murphy, noting her mother’s love of nature, said, “This means more to us than we could ever express.”

Town Historian Sharon McDonald also paid tribute in the form of a song.

The memorial tree is a Princeton elm, said Elizabeth Knox of the Arbor Resources Committee. The selection was based on its resistance to Dutch elm disease. Also attending was committee member Dan Churella.

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