For trying to shield her student as both died in the gunfire, Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher, Ann Marie Murphy earned high praise from New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Thursday.

“Annie laid down her life for her friends,” Dolan told mourners at St. Mary of the Assumption Roman Catholic Church in Katonah, N.Y. “Annie’s life and death brings light, truth, goodness, and love to a world often shrouded in darkness, evil, selfishness, and death.”

Murphy, a mother of four who was a special education teacher, was found with her arms wrapped around 6-year-old Dylan Hockley. She worked with Dylan one-on-one, and the boy loved his teacher so much that he kept a picture of her on his fridge. The Associated Press wrote that other children were discovered under Murphy’s protective embrace as well.

“Annie was an excellent teacher. She had a favored place in his big, tender heart for children, especially those with struggles,” Dolan said.

Her heroism bonded the grieving everywhere, he said. “She has brought together a community, a nation, a world, now awed by her own life and death.”

Janelle Wingert, of Wyoming, said in an email interview that she met Murphy when they were involved in the same faith-based community service activities in the Newtown area. She said Murphy asked her after 9/11 what she would do if someone attacked a school where she was working.

“She was serious and so intense in the question,” Wingert said in a Facebook post. “She died doing exactly what she said she would do- put herself between the gunman and her little ones, who she saw as the most precious of all in God’s heart.”

CBS News/Gannett News Service

Ann Marie Murphy

 

Ann Marie Murphy, 52, a 14-year resident of Sandy Hook, formerly of Katonah, N.Y., died December 14, at the Sandy Hook School tragedy. She was born July, 25, 1960, in Mount Kisco, N.Y., the daughter of Dr. Hugh and Alice McGowan of Katonah.

She graduated from St. Mary’s school in Katonah, John F. Kennedy High School in Somers, N.Y. and Southern Connecticut State University with an MS degree in education. Ms. Murphy was employed by the Newtown Board of Education as a teacher at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

She will be remembered for her love of the arts, walks in the outdoors, and most importantly: her family.

In addition to her beloved parents, she is survived by her devoted husband, Michael; her loving children Kelly, Colleen, Paige, and Thomas; and dear siblings Alice of Newtown, Mary Pat of Ridgefield, Catherine of Katonah, Hugh of Pawling, N.Y., Dr. Thomas of Somers, N.Y., and Peter of Troy, N.Y.

The family will receive friends at Clark Associates Funeral Home, 4 Woods Bridge Road, Katonah, N.Y., Wednesday, December 19, from 4 to 8 pm.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10am, Thursday, December 20, at St. Mary of the Assumption Roman Catholic Church, 117 Valley Road, Katonah, N.Y.

Burial will follow at St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Somers, N.Y.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Autism Speaks, 1060 State Road, 2nd Floor, Princeton NJ 08540, or at www.autismspeaks.org

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