Leigh Fitler Wood Murphey


Leigh passed away quietly at home on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 with her daughter and son-in-law, Sarah and Richard Waters, by her side. She was a fourth generation resident of Island Heights. Growing up, she summered in Island Heights as a child, learned to sail, and loved the river and its ever-changing views. She lived in Philadelphia, New York, Bermuda, Washington, D.C., and Boonsboro, MD before returning to Island Heights, NJ full time in 1974.

During her life she was involved in many projects to make the world a better place. In 1966-74 the family lived on a farm in Boonsboro, MD where she worked with Appalachian Peoples Service Organization

(APSO) to help families in the West Virginia coal belt displaced by strip mining. She also established an Episcopal Community Center for under-privileged youth in Baltimore, Md.

In Island Heights, Leigh founded the Cultural and Heritage Association and was a principal member of the effort that put the Victorian character of Island Heights on the State and National Register of Historic Sites. Leigh was a member of the Ocean County Artist Guild and the John F. Peto Museum. She followed the family tradition as an accomplished artist in watercolors and acrylics. In her travels, she painted scenes in Maryland, New Jersey, and Japan. She was a member of the Island Heights Yacht Club where her father, Bill Wood, was Commodore and her children also learned to sail.

Professionally, Leigh retired as a financial adviser and estate manager for several families in the Princeton area. Among her proudest achievements was successfully suing one of the largest banking firms and recovering a substantial sum of money that was owed to one of her clients. She also worked to protect her clients from further similar abuses.

Leigh is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, William M. Murphey III and wife Cheryl, daughter and son-in-law Sarah Elizabeth and Richard Waters, a grand-daughter Erin Taylor Murphey, all of Island Heights. Two brothers and a sister-in-law, William M. Wood Jr. and Patricia of Wytheville, VA and Rev. Howard Fitler Wood of Newtown, PA. She also leaves behind 4 nieces and 8 grand nieces and nephews.

Please consider a donation to Ocean County Artists Guild, P.O. Box 1156, Island Heights, NJ 08732 or John F. Peto Museum, PO Box 1022, Island Heights, NJ 08732.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.