Cover photo for Bridget C. (Murphy) Sumner's Obituary
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Bridget C. (Murphy) Sumner

March 4, 1943 — January 20, 2024


Bridget C. (Murphy) Sumner

Bridget “Bridie” Catherine (Murphy) Sumner, a long-time resident of Reading, passed away at Winchester Hospital after a long illness on January 20, 2024. She was 81 years old. She was born in New York, NY, the daughter of the late Frank Murphy and Helen (Leahy) Murphy on March 4, 1943. She graduated from Norwalk High School, in Norwalk, CT, in 1961 and went on to earn an associate degree at the College of St. Joseph in Vermont.

During her high school years, she volunteered at the Notre Dame Nursing Home in Norwalk, CT and upon her graduation, she joined the sisters of St. Thomas of Villanova who ran the nursing home, after making her novitiate in St. Germaine, Paris, France.

After seven years, she left the order and moved with lifelong friends to the Boston area, and began her career as a medical secretary, and met her future husband, Neil Sumner, through her brother, John Murphy. Bridie and Neil married on April 4, 1971, at St. Clement’s Eucharistic Shrine in Boston, MA, and moved to Reading shortly thereafter, they subsequently had three children and Bridie dedicated herself to their well-being and education.

When her husband became an ordained deacon in the Catholic Church, Bridie became a full-time supporter in his ministry. She played a crucial role in assisting in baptisms, visiting and bringing Holy Communion to the sick and editing her husband’s homilies! Together, Bridie and Neil volunteered at the Sawtelle Family Hospice for 13 years, cooking and serving meals to the patients on Sundays, and supporting the patients and their families through the many end-of-life challenges they faced. Bridie continued her mission to others by helping her fellow dialysis patients to adjust to their treatment—based on her 12 years of treatment three times a week— and giving individual counseling to any friend, parishioner, or stranger who sought her advice and counsel.

Bridie is the sister of John Murphy of Little Rock, AR, and the late Ann Van Name of Staten Island, NY, Alice Murphy of Norwood, MA, Helen Murphy of Walpole, MA, Francis “Frank” Murphy of Staten Island, NY. She is also predeceased by her best friend, Jacqueline Walsh of Millis, MA.

She is survived by her husband, Deacon Neil J. Sumner, and her children, Margaret Sumner and her husband Roy Hampton, of Columbus, OH, Colleen Sumner and her husband John Dennison of South Portland, ME, and William “Bill” Sumner and his wife Heather (Klenow) Sumner, and their daughter, Grace kKatherine, of Portland, ME.

A Vigil Service will be held for Bridie in St. Athanasius Church in Reading, MA, on Friday, January 26, 2024, from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. A funeral mass celebrating Bridie’s life will follow on Saturday, January 27, 2024 at 10:30 a.m. Interment Charles Lawn Cemetery, Reading.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Bridie’s name to Christ the King Parish in Reading, MA / or The Sisters of Saint Thomas of Villanova, Norwalk, CT / or another charity of your choice.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Bridget C. (Murphy) Sumner, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Friday, January 26, 2024

3:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Saturday, January 27, 2024

10:30 - 11:30 am (Eastern time)

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Saturday, January 27, 2024

11:45am - 12:15 pm (Eastern time)

Charles Lawn Cemetery

Charles St, Reading, MA 01867

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