Elena Atanasova Dasklaloff Murphy was born on July 5, 1933 in Sofia, Bulgaria. She was the youngest of four children by Magdalena and Atanas Daskaloff. When her father recognized that life under the newly established Bulgarian communist government had become increasingly difficult and dangerous, he moved his family to the United States in December 1946.
Upon arriving in the U.S., they visited relatives in New York, and friends in Toledo and Detroit where her father found employment. In 1951, after graduating from Western High School, Elena worked as an insurance clerk with the Gurney Insurance Agency and then as a clerk/typist with the Department of the Army. The early years in the U.S. were very difficult for the family since Elena’s sister Mimi died in 1950 at the age of twenty, and three years later her father died.
In 1954, the family moved to Monterey, California at the request of her older brother Milan to live near him while he was an instructor at the Defense Language School. Between 1954 and 1963, Elena held various positions both at home and abroad. She worked in the Civilian Personnel Office with the U.S. Army at Fort Ord, CA and with the 8th U.S. Army 7th Logistic Command in Seoul and Taegu, Korea. Her excellent work as a personnel clerk and secretary/stenographer led to an offer of employment with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Livorno, Italy. It was in Livorno that Elena met her husband-to-be, Zell Louis Murphy.
In December 1963, Elena eloped with Zell (and mother Magdalena in tow) to Zurich, Switzerland where they were married. Within the year, Zell’s job with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers brought them to the Washington DC area. In August of 1965, their first child was born, Zell Murphy, II. Two additional children followed -- Mimi in June of 1967 and Mark in March of 1973.
Elena regarded her roles as wife, mother and homemaker as the most important roles of her life. She was actively involved in the lives of her children and supported them in all their educational, sporting, and extracurricular activities. She had many interests outside of the home which became more important to her with her kids grown and the passing of her husband Zell in March of 2012. Elena was an avid bridge player and a member of the Stratford Women’s Club and Mount Vernon House and Garden Club. She was very involved in church activities with the Saint George Ladies Society and held various positions including Secretary, Treasurer and President.
Elena loved to travel, and in her later years, she traveled with her friends, Barbara and Frank Nekoba, to Argentina, Chile, and China. Most of all, she loved to get together for annual beach weeks with her grown kids as a family get together.
Elena D. Murphy passed on Saturday, August 3, 2019 in her home in Alexandria. She is survived by her three children, Zell, Mimi, and Mark, and daughter-in-law Audrey. She is also survived by her brother George Daskaloff. She is predeceased by her husband Zell Louis Murphy, father Atanas Daskaloff, mother Magdalena, brother Milan, and sister Mimi.
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