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Jeanne (Picariello) Murphy

A dear and accomplished alum, Jeanne (Picariello) Murphy ‘71, passed suddenly and tragically in a hit-and-run accident on Sunday, January 8, 2023. Over the years she maintained contact with many friends in St. Louis and though living out of the area still provided generous support to the Roosevelt Alumni Association. As a student at Roosevelt, she served as a staff member, associate editor, and finally editor-in-chief of the Rough Rider, was a varsity cheerleader and captain, served on the Student Council, and Pep R. Jeanne also was Homecoming Queen and noted in Senior Superlatives as having the Most School Spirit. With interest in a nursing career at a young age, and with encouragement of her father, she enlisted in the Army to pursue her dream. These attributes and her scholarship led her to a wonderful life of service.

During her 30-year career in the military, rising to the rank of Colonel, she served in many leadership positions for Department of Defense in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. As Director of Soldier and Family Support for the U.S. Army she had responsibility for Army-wide family and soldier programs that included the World Class Athlete Program for Olympic development. Prior to that tour she served as Commandant of the U.S. Army Physical Fitness School in Ft. Benning, GA, with responsibilities for fitness programs involving all military personnel. While on active duty she spearheaded health and wellness programs in the Pentagon and at the Army War College with the first Department of Defense large-scale research program on worksite health promotion and health risk reduction. Jeanne went on to conduct programs for military, civilians and Embassy personnel in Europe and Latin America. During and after the Gulf War, she worked with combat troops in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq.

Her leadership after leaving the military continued. Jeanne was a member of the United States Olympic Committee Board of Directors and then served as the USOC Chair of the Multi-Sport Organizations Council for ten years. For the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece she was designated Chef de Mission for the U.S. Paralympic Team. In 2005, she served with the American Red Cross as Manager, Staff Health in Gulfport, Mississippi during Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Jeanne was a doctoral student in Political Science from Auburn University (all but dissertation) where she taught undergraduate courses in political science, international relations, and health care administration. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Washington in cardiovascular nursing and exercise physiology, and her BSN from the University of Maryland. She is a former competitive runner and swimmer and was the first woman ever selected to the U.S. Modern Pentathlon Team in 1975.

Three years ago, Jeanne’s husband Bruce Murphy was named President of Centenary University in Hackettstown New Jersey.  While there they have been enthusiastic supporters of the University and were familiar faces at many community and University events especially those honoring fellow veterans. Jeanne held a special place in her heart for the University’s Equine Studies program, especially TRAC (Therapeutic Riding at Centenary), which provides horsemanship opportunities for disabled riders and veterans. An Army nurse, her professional experience and knowledge of the field helped to inform the University’s new RN to BSN degree.

Click here  to view photos of her internment at Arlington National Cemetary and here to see her final resting place.

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