My name is Kareema Attia Murphy, some of my closest family and friends call me by my nick-name, Teemie. No one seems to remember how got the nick name. I think my paternal grand-mom gave it to me.
I was born on a Wednesday, 06/28/1972. On that day, the number one R&B song was “Lean On Me” by Bill Withers. In that year, the median cost of a new house was $27,600, a new car $3,853, average rent was $165 a month, tuition to Howard University $2200, A movie ticket $1.75 and gasoline was just fifty-five cents a gallon.
My mother, the late Marjorie Wilson, was the most loving and inspiring person I ever knew and the late William “Punkin” Murphy one of the most complexed and funniest men in my life and whom I love dearly.
While I will miss you all here in this world, dearly. I welcome the joy and indescribable love waiting for me from my parents and other loved ones in that other world.
I grew up with a relatively typical life for a black girl in this country. I had few heart breaks and few difficult times but a lot more love and blessings in my life to be thankful for.
There was much love and laughter in my home growing up with my siblings. There were four of us under one roof and one more under another roof. I was the baby of the bunch.
Let me introduce to some, and simply name for others, my siblings, the people I know who will continue to hold me down and look out for my children as I move on to my new experience.
First there is my funny, story telling, handsome brother Hasson Omar Murphy who is ten months older than me. Yup, that’s not a typo. My brother and I are only ten months apart. We are what they would call, Irish twins. I could always count on hearing the most funny stories and exciting adventures from his world travels. While I will miss your physical presence, I will always be a memory away.I will always remember. I’m looking forward to visiting you in our memories. I miss you brother.
There is Todd Jones, my 100% brother from another mother by the name of the lateTamara Jones. Todd is the strong silent type. At least until you get to know him. There are a number of adjectives I could use for Todd. A ladies man, (before he was married of course) kind and generous just to name a few. But what I admire most about my brother Todd is the type of father he is to my nephews and niece. Todd, when you are praying, think of me.I will just be a thought away. I miss you brother.
There is Hank Wilson, my 100% brother from another father by the name of the late Henry Wilson. Those of you who know me, know Hank. My brother was like a father to me. He was always there for me. Hank is and has played many different roles is my life. A friend, an empathetic listener, a consummate optimist, a financial and spiritual advisor, and now…another watchful guardian to my children. Hank, you know how to reach me. I am always in your imagination. Imagine that. I miss you brother
Then There is my sister Marjorie Brown , my 100% sister from another father by the name of the late Henry Wilson. Nushie, as I called her, is my absolute ride or die go to person. She has been my confidant, a listening ear and the most enthusiastic cheerleader anyone could ever want in their corner. She would rejoice and celebrate all my blessings and life accomplishments as if they were her own. How nice it would be when we visit each other in our dreams. I’m dreaming of you. I miss you sister.
I went to my Philly neighborhood public schools like Pennypacker Elementary in Oak Lane Philadelphia , Mcdaniel Elementary in South Philly and Vare Junior High also in South Philly.
When I graduated from the Philadelphia Academic Charter High School in 1990, I wasn’t a hundred percent sure what I wanted to do with my life, at least as far as a career path goes.
I had a few jobs in the fast food industry and short period working in a nursing home. Nothing that I would want to do for any long period of time. As I was figuring out what that path would be, my brother Hank asked me to join his young company -Wilson Insurance & Financial Planning. He needed help and we agreed that I would work with him until he could find a replacement or when I decided what I wanted to do professionally.
Fifteen years later, after a marriage , two kids, and three houses, I was still working in the family business. It was a great run, I learned so much and shared what I learned with anyone that wanted to know.
During my time working in the family business, I had the honor and blessings to give birth to two of my most favorite people in the whole world. My beautiful and loving daughter Ahyindee “Yinnie” Ward and my life of the party son Ahmeer “Meer” Wiggins.
To my beautiful babies, I know my sudden exit from the stage of life makes no sense to you. It didn’t make sense to me either at first. But I know GOD is good ALL of the time and I have faith that GOD has a larger plan and will make it clear to me what my new role will be. I know with the help of GOD you will be alright.
Whenever you hear my favorite songs, eat my favorite foods, smell my fragrance, or imagine that you hear my voice. I will be there, radiating light and love from my heart into yours, that you may feel my undying, unconditional, unending love. While I will miss our hugs and kisses more than you will ever know. Know I will always be with you.
Before I left our family business, I realized I did have a passion for something other than financial services and my auto tag business.
Every summer, our family would participate in the philadelphia summer youth work program and I would be tasked to interview and hire the youth.
My family and I would often become close with the youth and develop ongoing mentoring relationships. At some point it clicked!
That’s what I want to do. I want to work with youth. A teacher? A councilor? A social worker? Let me get my paperwork right and figure out the best position later.
After many encouraging conversations with my siblings, family and friends, I set out on journey to get the prerequisite education needed to do the kind of work I was passionate about.
In 2005, I earned my associate in science focusing on behavior health from the Philadelphia Community College. In 2007, my Bachelor of Science/ Behavioral Health from Alvernia University in Reading PA.
Now that I had my paperwork right, I had to find the right employment opportunity that would position me to be able to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of youth.
The opportunities that stand out the most for me, is my time as the dean of students with Mastery Gratz Charters School from 2017 to 2019 and Kipp Public Charter Schools from 2019.
The staff and students that I have come to know will forever be a part of me. I would often share my at-work stories with my siblings or a girl friend or two and would discover upon reflection that I have learned something from that experience. Sometimes it was patience, other times tolerance and still others… Love. Love and compassion for someone else.
Its about here, I would shout out some of my most favorite students and co-workers from Gratz and Kipp, but my siblings may not know you all, so just know if you were touched by me, I was definitely touched by you.
Thank you for the experience, the opportunity, the stories, the memories, the love. I will miss you all.
I have many things I would like to say to my nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, and uncles and my close girl friends. Since I am limited by time and space relative to this obituary, I will share this poem that Hank came across while contemplating …my change of existence. He was thinking of his last words after our phone conversation on 4/26/2021.——- “Ok Sis, I’ll talk to you tomorrow”