Mrs. Murray’s Garden

Bernadette Jones, Jim Crawford, Harry Ruppenicker, Jr., Larry Lariviere

For 30 years the dedication of Joanne Marino-Murray helped the growth and expansion of many Westbrook student’s minds, self confidence and education. She loved her work as a teacher at Daisy Ingraham Elementary School and it’s only fitting that since her passing , a greenhouse and garden, which is used to cultivate plants and vegetables and teach students about science and health, has been constructed in her name; “Mrs. Murray’s Teaching Garden and Greenhouse.”

Funds donated by way of a $10,700 grant from the Westbrook Foundation, which Joanne was a former board member and chair of, were used to help get the project underway, along with a commitment from the PTO for support of ongoing expenses, and donations of in-kind services from local businesses and community volunteers.
The teaching garden is used for students in pre-k through 4th grade, and acts as a hands on educational experience that helps to build knowledge of how plants grow and how to care for plants, in conjunction with increasing awareness of healthy eating habits.

A very special dedication ceremony was held to officially devote the garden in Joanne’s honor on September 11 2013. Members of the Daisy Ingraham School, students, Board of Education members, Superintendent Pat Ciccone, members of the Westbrook Foundation and many friends and family members were on hand at the event to remember and commemorate Joanne’s distinguished career, and to celebrate a garden which will forever keep her memory alive and thriving as part of the school and environment she loved so much.

Joanne was a beloved mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt. She was passionate about her family and teaching. She took great pleasure in being able to live and work in the town of Westbrook, and endlessly donated her time and energies to the community that was her home for so many years.

“Two of Joanne’s passions, teaching and gardening, meld perfectly with this greenhouse project,” explained Westbrook Foundation Chairman James Crawford. “The Foundation directors are pleased to support this Daisy Ingraham PTO initiative. It is a fitting tribute to a much loved and respected educator.”

It was another Westbrook Elementary School teacher, Barbara Spencer who started the Westbrook Foundation in 1984. Using her original donation, as well as her bequest, along with the generous donations of many others, the Foundation has successfully distributed over a million dollars in scholarships and grants for the betterment of the lives of Westbrook students and citizens, and continues to follow the mission set forth by Barbara Spencer; to administer funds and other property to help meet the medical, educational, social, welfare, cultural, recreational, and civic needs of the citizens of the town of Westbrook, Connecticut.