Evans Funeral Home

"Compassionate Funeral Service"

Carrington and New Rockford, North Dakota
701.652.3003 or 701.947.2911

Secondary Number ~ 701.650.9937

Bertha “Bert” Murphy

Bertha Veronica Seitz Murphy was born on December 15, 1932 near Shade Tree Reservoir in a sod house near Lemmon, SD. She was the 7th of 13 children, and the 3rd daughter, born to Alex and Rose Seitz, devout Catholics. Being she was the only blonde of the girls, she stood out from her noticeably handsome siblings. When she was just 2 1/2, her family moved north of Kensal, North Dakota, where Bert made most of her young memories. She often shared that despite the hardship of living at that time, she “had lots of fun,” especially with the siblings closest to her.

One day during her formative years, her Aunt Barbara visited. She took Bert’s little hands into her own and after silently inspecting them, she told Bert, “You have pillows on your fingertips. You will make a good nurse.” So, in the fall of her 13th year, Bert sadly left her home to attend high school in Jamestown, in anticipation of one day becoming a nurse. Because financing high school was difficult for her family, Bert worked to help support herself, sweeping the classroom, washing dishes, and working at a boarding house making beds, scrubbing floors, etc. During her junior year, she took on a nurse’s aid job from 3-9 p.m. at the Jamestown Hospital. She graduated from St. John’s Academy in 1950, and with a $250 Red Cross Scholarship, she began nurse’s training at St. Alexius Nursing Program in Bismarck. Having graduated in August of 1953, she began working at the Carrington Hospital, and in September, she married John Murphy at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Bordulac. They made their home on John’s family farm a few miles from Bordulac.

John and Bert were hoping to begin their family, but the arrival of children was made challenging by a medical condition that caused babies to be born much too early. A total of six babies were prematurely born and passed during John and Bert’s young marriage, one of whom “looked just like John” and lived only a day or two, bringing great heartache to them and their respective families. 

In 1959, after suffering 5 miscarriages and spending almost nine months on bedrest, it was with great pride and joy, a full-term baby girl, Louise, was born! The secret to having children for Bert was a lot of bedrest and help from her sisters! Then, Michael arrived in 1961, Eileen came in 1963, John R. in 1965, and Paul was born in 1967. Bert loved her children very deeply, had high hopes for them, and encouraged their individuality by often telling them, “Don’t be a sheep.” Bragging about them was one of her favorite activities.

Bert continued working at the Carrington Hospital, but at the age of 43, with encouragement and support from her husband, she enrolled in the state’s first Family Nurse Practitioner Program at the University of North Dakota (UND), which was designed to help provide health care to rural areas. Following graduation in 1976, Bert began working under the supervision of “Doc” Voglewede, a military-trained physician who taught her excellent surgical skills, as well as other skills critical in rural health care. Bert worked with “Doc” until she was 62, but resumed working at both the Jamestown Hospital as a surgical nurse, and at the ND State Hospital in Jamestown until she was 82. 

In 2006, at the age of 74, Bert was presented with the Outstanding Alumni Award from UND’s Physician Assistant (PA) Program, in recognition of having provided 30 years of healthcare. Between 1976 and 2016, Bert maintained PA certification, which required completion of 100 hours of continuing medical education every two years, and passing the PA certification test every six years. At the age of 85, Bert was presented with an Emeritus award from the National Committee on Certification of Physicians’ Assistants. A nurse she most definitely became, having worked 62 years and loved every moment!

Aside from being a skilled and compassionate nurse, Bert was also known for: a love of fishing and hummingbirds; hunting for mushrooms & asparagus; multitasking (sometimes at very inopportune times); love of music, ballroom dancing, & singing, especially in church with sons Michael and Paul; a car filled with all kinds of “merchandise” (mostly fishing equipment & tackle), so much so that rarely could she provide transportation to more than one, aside from herself; and her many driving “skills”, including driving over bags of seed corn, spewing them yards into the air, and “parking” her car between two trees with only an inch or two of clearance between the bumpers and the trees, and “taking” a cat to the hospital parking lot; a “stocked” refrigerator, complete with creative casseroles, saved food via mold scraping, and mixtures she sometimes called “ambrosia”; shooting black birds off the back step, sometimes two with one shot; being able to diaper a baby faster than most any one; butchering chickens; and the Kentucky Derby.

Bert leaves behind her children, 15 grandchildren, and 11 great grandchildren: Louise & Robert Biwer (Bismarck), and their children, Christopher (Mandan), Adam & Rachel Biwer and their daughters, Gwen & Mae (Phoenix, AZ), and Shannon & Peter Reimer and their sons, Ivan & Gabriel, with a baby on the way (Bismarck); Michael & Cindy Murphy (Carrington) and their daughter Jenna & Brett Hershberger, and daughter, Maria (Fargo), and son, Casey & Maartja Murphy and their son, Shepard (Carrington); Eileen & Rodney Savelkoul (Lansford), and their daughters, Margaret, Audra & Lily, and son, Elliot; John & Tina Murphy (Carrington), and their daughter, Jessica & Kristopher Skadberg, their two sons, Jack & Luke, and daughter, Emerson (Carrington), their son, James (Carrington), their daughter, Shania & Seth Gilliss (Carrington) and baby Russell; and their son, Jonathan Murphy; and Paul Murphy (Carrington), and his son, Connal (Grand Forks), and daughter, Ceara (Bismarck). 

She was preceded in death by her husband, John; her sister, Dolores Plaisted; her parents, and her brothers: Herman, Dennis, James, Reinhold, Daniel, and Henry; and her premature infants.


Bert’s Visitation will be Wednesday, July 12, 2023 from 6:00PM – 7:00PM at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Carrington, ND with a Rosary Service at 6:45PM followed by a Vigil Service at 7:00PM.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Thursday, July 13, 2023 at 10:30AM at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Carrington, ND.

Her Burial will be at Carrington Cemetery, Carrington, ND

Posted Condolences:


  1. We will miss Bert, a remarkable woman. She was like a second mother. Sincere condolences to her wonderful family.

  2. Bert was an amazing and hard working woman. She was my PA assistant in Gen Surgery at JRMC for many years. And she still worked full time at the ND state hospital. She would many times be swimming laps for exercise early in the morning at the YMCA before starting her work day. Condolences to the family.
    Dr. Maier

  3. My sincere condolences to the whole family. Our families spent a lot of time together while I was growing up, and I also worked with Bert at my father’s medical office for a summer. To me, there was nothing Bert couldn’t do. She always seemed fearless, strong and independent, and managed a strenuous professional career while raising a large family. She was a true role model for many young girls in Carrington. I personally appreciate all that she taught me, and feel so fortunate to have known her.

  4. Bert was an amazing woman!

  5. My condolences to the Murphy family! Your mother Bert was one of the first working women I ever knew and was a solid part of our community. She will always be remembered!!

  6. My sincere sympathies to her family. Bert was a great lady and feel blessed to have met her.

  7. My condolences to all in Bert’s family. I often enjoyed our rollicking conversations and wondered where they may end up. I trust you have many good memories.

  8. Dear Murphy family, we are so sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. What a life she had! And quite a woman she was! You can be very proud to have had a mom with such drive and determination. She will be missed.

  9. Thank you for this wonderful obituary. My sympathy with the Murphy family. Bert was a formidable woman. I have memories of fishing on Devils Lake with Dad (Doc Voglewede) and Bert. I am so glad that she and John finally had a big family, of good kids. May she rest in peace!

  10. Sorry for your families loss Louise, she sounds like quite a woman and a very hard working one at that. You will all surely miss her a great deal.

  11. Dear Louise, Michael, Eileen, John, Paul and families, we are holding you all in prayer as you grieve your loss and celebrate your wonderful Mom. Aunt Bert was truly a woman to admire and I’m sure she is dancing in heaven with all those who have gone before her. I have such fond memories of coming to your farm. I wish I could make it to the funeral but unfortunately I have a commitment that has been on the calendar for almost a year. You will all be in my thoughts as you celebrate the fond memories you have of your dynamic mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. You have all been blessed to have her as your mother.
    Hugs to you all….Cathy & Rich Fuchs

  12. She was one of a kind. I have very fond memories of her. Sending my heartfelt condolences to her family.

  13. Bert was one of a kind, always on the move and will be forever missed. I know you all have wonderful memories of your mom and grandma. A lovely tribute to a lovely woman. With kind regards ~ Staci Miller (Willyard)

  14. My heart felt sympathy 💐 and prayers to Dr Louise Murphy and family loss of Mother is so heartbreaking.May God reward in heaven with angels and saints

  15. My deepest sympathy to the Murphy family. I worked with Burt in Surgery at Jamestown Hospital. She was quite a gal!
    Linda Todd

  16. Dear Murphy family, our sincere condolonces to all of you. I remember Bert as such a wonderful and warm person, when I met her several times during my stay with Eileen & Rod and their kids back in 2005/2006. She also invited my parents and brother to stay at her house when they came to visit and took such good care and we made unforgettable memories!
    Christina and family from Germany


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Condolences are reviewed by staff.


Home | About Us | Our Services | Obituaries | Directories | Resources |

© 2018 Evans Funeral Home, All Rights Reserved.