Evelyn Layman MurchPublished 9:35pm Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Evelyn Layman Murch, 90, of Fleming Island died on April 1, 2013, at The Terrace at Fleming Island, Fla. Ev was born in Athens, Tenn., to Clyde and Mary Schultz Layman. She is survived by her devoted husband of 64 years, Richard M. Murch, and her children, Richard M. Murch Jr., of Fleming Island, Fla., daughters Barbara M. Henley and husband, David, of Currituck, N.C., and Nancy M. Dobbins, of Phoenix, Ariz. Ev, the eldest of nine children, is also survived by her sisters, Betty L. Seago and husband, Fred, of Perry, Ga.; Edna L. Wilson and husband, Clint, of Moore, S.C.; and her brothers, Clyde Layman Jr. and wife, Mary, of Unadilla, Ga., and Paul Layman and wife, Teresa, of Statesville, N.C. Ev was lovingly known as “Nan-Nan” by her grandchildren, Christine D. Lipfert and husband, John, of Phoenix, Ariz., Haley H. Greiner and husband, Dave, of Chesapeake, Shawn Murch, of Centreville, and Robert “Bobby” Murch of Beaufort, S.C. Ev is also survived by five great-grandchildren, Zachery Murch; David and Christian Greiner; and Julia and Madeline Lipfert, as well as by numerous nieces and nephews.
Ev was an alumna of Tennessee Wesleyan College, then a junior college, and was accepted to The University of Tennessee, Memphis, as a nurse cadet, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. She later sat for her nursing boards and received her license as a Registered Nurse. Ev worked as a nurse in New York, where she met the love of her life, Rich, when he was a patient following a bus accident. As the Murches moved their family to Connecticut and Virginia, Ev continued her work at Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Conn., and then at Obici Hospital in Suffolk. Once they moved to Florida, Ev continued serving her community for many years as a volunteer at Orange Park Medical Center.
In addition to loving her family, Ev had a love of adventure. Her passion was flying, and she and Rich received their pilots’ licenses in the early ‘60s. Ev became chapter co-chair of The Ninety-Nines, an organization founded in 1929 by 99 licensed women pilots, of which Amelia Earhart, one of Ev’s heroines, was a member and the first president. Ev was co-pilot to her friend, Peggy Davidson, and together they won two Powder Puff Derbys, then an annual New England air race for women pilots. The race’s name has been attributed to vaudeville actor, reporter, humorist and aviation supporter, Will Rogers.
Over the years, Ev enjoyed camping with her family, sailing the East Coast and the Caribbean in their sailboat, The Shenandoah, with Rich, and later in their trawler, The Second Impression. Ev was an avid gardener and volunteer in her communities. She served as area chair for the American Red Cross and co-chair of a Suffolk political party. Later in life, she and Rich enjoyed many trips across the U.S, and to Canada and Alaska, in their motor home.
A celebration of Ev’s life will be held on Saturday, May 18, at 11 a.m., at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 400 St. John’s Ave., Green Cove Springs, Fla. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to St. Mary’s Stained Glass Fund.