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Eileen Murphy Malsch’s birthday was a family event. With generations of children and grandchildren around her, Ms Malsch celebrated her 100th birthday on February 10 at The Villa restaurant in Sandy Hook.
Ms Malsch’s daughter Eileen Peterson this week noted that the family “gathered from around the country to celebrate their beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.”
Ms Malsch was born on February 9, 1918, in Lowell, Mass. She met Ken Malsch of Waterbury, “the love of her life,” over the July 4 weekend in 1941, at Hampton Beach, N.H.; they saw each other only three times before he joined the Marines in September 1941.
Their courtship was by mail while he fought in the South Pacific and she worked on the war effort in Boston. They married on December 30, 1944, when he was on medical leave. The Malsches raised five children together and enjoyed a close and loving family, Ms Peterson said.
Mr Malsch died in 2005 and Ms Malsch remained in Sandy Hook.
Daughter Karen Banks added to Ms Malsch’s background: She is the daughter of Mary Ellen Cassidy Murphy and John Joseph Murphy, and the youngest of seven children. At the age of 2, she moved to Dracut, Mass., where she primarily grew up.
As a child she would accompany her mother to the gypsy encampments at a horse farm nearby. Her mom would care for the gypsies who were frequently injured in fights at the encampments.
At the age of 12, she would canoe across the Merrimack River, which was across the street from her home, to the amusement park, to listen to the music and then paddle back in the dark. School was a four-mile walk (one way) which she did from first through the eighth grade, and then she took the trolley into Lowell to high school.
During the Depression years her family moved to Holden, Mass., to get work in Worcester. She and her mother returned to their home in Dracut after one year, while her father and sisters and brothers remained to work.
Ms Malsch worked in a department store as a young woman and then worked at Remington and at Harvard in “Radio Research” during World War II. She met her future husband two months before his enlistment in the USMC.
They enjoyed 61 years of a wonderful marriage and had six children. Ms Malsch now has eight grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and two more on the way.