Gardening 06

Caroline Davis Murray

October 11, 1944 ~ July 1, 2022 (age 77)


Caroline Davis Murray of Ashfield, MA died suddenly and unexpectedly on Friday, July 1, 2022, at the age of 77.

Caroline was a vibrant, compassionate woman of integrity who cared deeply about her family and friends, her church, her neighbors, and the wider community. She was a loving and supportive wife and mother, and through letters, events and visits was at the center of her extended family, holding everyone together. 

She also held her community together. Known for her strength, generosity, respect, and practical wisdom, she constantly looked for opportunities to work with and help others. She generously contributed both her time and resources to worthy causes and those organizations working to make the world a better place. Whether it was distributing warm clothing, helping secure fuel in winter, or overseeing the preparation of meals for many, Caroline was at the center, on task and serving others. 

She loved people, being with people, hearing stories, learning from people, laughing with people. She cherished engagement with others in all its forms. No doubt this grew out of her love for music, gardening, reading, and travel, and her deep gratitude for her long, healthy, and fortunate life. She enjoyed quiet, peaceful times in her beautiful gardens where she could listen to birds, work the soil, and feel fulfilled as new shoots of life came up. She loved the songs of the wood thrush and other birds from the woods, as well as the barred and great horned owls at dusk. The soft baas and nickering of goats and sheep from nearby fields soothed her, and brought her closer to all that she loved about nature and rural life. Above all, she loved her home and family, and she cherished her 54-year marriage to her husband Ted. She did this by fussing over him, gently scolding him, and trying to improve him... her wifely way of loving him.  Their life together was filled with laughter, joy and a deep abiding love.

Born in 1944 in Waltham, MA, Caroline spent her early years in Lexington and Duxbury, MA. She graduated from Thayer Academy and Connecticut College. Her early work was as a laboratory technician, specializing in cancer research at Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Cincinnati. She and Ted married in 1968, and later had two children, Ben and Sarah. Soon after Sarah was born, Caroline moved with her family to Evanston, IL and then a few years later they moved again to Needham, MA.

Imbued with the idea that self-governance and local politics were important, she became a member of the League of Women Voters and served as a representative Needham Town Meeting member. She was elected to the Needham School Committee and served for several years.  Concerned for others who were not as fortunate as she, she became director of the Needham Community Council’s Food Pantry, and she served as Treasurer of the Needham Congregational Church’s Outreach Committee. She strongly supported, and advocated for, the church’s decision to become a partner with the village of Santa María Tzejá of Guatemala. Similarly, she was an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ community as her church’s congregation struggled with, and then voted almost unanimously to become a welcoming “Open and Affirming” church for all. 

After Ted’s retirement, he and Caroline moved to Ashfield, MA. There, she characteristically plunged into serving others. She became a member and Trustee of the First Congregational Church of Ashfield.  She served as Trustee and Treasurer of the town’s Milo Belding Memorial Library, and she helped establish the Share the Warmth Committee that provided fuel assistance, home insulation repairs, and distributions of warm clothing in winter. For several years at her church’s Fall Festival fundraiser, she skillfully recruited, organized, and worked with volunteers to staff her church’s Soup Cafe. And as if Fall Festival corn chowder and soups were not enough, she organized, staffed, and oversaw preparation of elegant dinners for over 100 people at Red Gate Farm Education Center's annual Fall Dinner.

Caroline loved life, and enjoyed every minute of whatever came her way. It is likely that she would be pleased that she died after having lunch with Ted and spending most of her last day in her gardens.

Caroline is survived by her husband, Ted, their children Ben and Sarah, and four grandchildren, Ainsley, Charlie, Abby and Elliott, as well as extended family.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, October 22, 2022, at 2:00 PM at the First Congregational Church of Ashfield. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the First Congregational Church of Ashfield, (, the church that Caroline loved and supported, or Red Gate Farm (, a local education center connecting children to nature and farming, and founded by Caroline's son. 



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Memorial Service
October 22, 2022

2:00 PM
Ashfield Congregational Church
Main St
Ashfield, MA 01330
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