Doris Murtha


    Doris Murtha, 94, of Woonsocket passed away Monday morning, July 29, 2013, in the Prairie View Care Center at Woonsocket.
Funeral services were Monday, Aug. 5 at 10:30 a.m. in St. Wilfrid  Catholic Church, Woonsocket. A scripture service was held at the church Sunday evening.  Burial was in the church cemetery at Woonsocket.
Doris was born to John and Gilda (Solda) Povolo on Dec. 20, 1918 and grew up in Caspian, Mich. Doris had three siblings: an older sister, Rena; an older brother, Chester; and a younger brother, Raymond.
On March 12, 1948 she was united in marriage to Frank Bertola.  Together, they ran a bakery at Caspian.  Doris and Frank had one child, Francis (Frank). In tragic circumstances Frank Bertola was killed.
Following her husband’s death, Doris continued to run the bakery. Through a Catholic magazine, the “Saint Anthony Messenger,” she connected with Thomas Murtha in South Dakota and on Jan. 2, 1954 they were joined in marriage at Caspian.
They returned to Tom’s farm two and a half miles northwest of Woonsocket. To this union six children were born: Chester, Edward, Michael, Lawrence, Gilda (Jill) and Mary Jo.  They lived on the farm until 1979 when they retired and moved into Woonsocket while Mike and family took over the farming operation. Doris worked at Van Dyke’s Supply from 1981 to 1985.
Tom passed away in December of 1987. Doris continued to live in their home at Woonsocket until November of 2011, when she moved into the Special Care Unit at Prairie View Care Center.
Among the joys of Doris’ life was her family.  “Mama” Murtha, as she came to be called by some, enjoyed attending her children’s school activities (especially wrestling) and later, the visits from her kids and grandkids. The family and guests were the beneficiaries of her cooking talents and enjoyed her baked goods, pastas and other Italian fare.
Doris also enjoyed reading, playing cards and bingo, doing crossword puzzles and word searches and putting puzzle pieces together. On her good days at PVCC she might brighten up the staff with a rendition of “A Bushel and a Peck” or “The Old Grey Mare” with a little dance to top things off.
Doris was a member of St. Wilfrid Catholic Church and involved in the Altar Society and St. Francis Circle. A woman of devout faith and belief in prayer, she generally kept a rosary close by her bedside.
While her son, Chester, was studying in Rome for the priesthood, Doris had the privilege of encountering Pope John Paul II face to face.  First, she met the Pope in 1989 when she took part in a pilgrimage to Rome and later, in 1992, when Doris and her niece, Donna, traveled to Rome for Chester’s ordination to the diaconate.  A few years after that, Doris and Chester made another trip to Italy in order to visit Doris’ cousins in northern Italy and the place where her dad grew up.
Doris is survived by her children, Frank (Rose) Cheyenne, Wyo., Fr. Chester of Miller, Eddie (Brenda), Valley Springs,  Mike (Kay) Browerville, Minn., Larry (Bonnie) Sioux Falls, Jill (Steve) Heiser, Eagan, Minn., and Jo (Cary) Ellingson, Rapid City; 27 grandchildren; and several great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her step-mother; her siblings; both husbands, Frank Bertola and Tom Murtha; and two grandchildren.
Arrangements were under the direction of Basham Funeral  Service, Woonsocket,

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