View Full Version : Elementary principal jumps from bridge to her death

03-24-2007, 06:07 AM
I get sweaty palms just driving over this bridge. I can't imagine the dispair that would drive someone to jump from it.


Clermont County educator's body found downstream of Ohio's tallest bridge.

By Dave Greber

Staff Writer

Saturday, March 24, 2007

OREGONIA The woman who jumped to her death Thursday evening from the tallest bridge in Ohio was principal of Summerside Elementary School in Clermont County.

Eileen M. Murphy, 55, of Cincinnati, parked her 2002 Honda Accord at about 4:40 p.m. in the right lane of northbound Interstate 71, near the south end of the Jeremiah-Morrow Bridge, got out and jumped into the Little Miami River some 240 feet below.

Turtlecreek Twp. emergency medical services recovered her body about three-quarters of a mile downstream, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol's Lebanon post.

The Warren County Coroner pronounced Murphy dead at the scene.

Classes were canceled Friday at the Union Twp. elementary school, and a crisis team will be present Monday when the school reopens, according to school officials.

"Her death is a great loss to the people who knew her," said Superintendent Gary E. Brooks of the West Clermont Local School District in a letter sent home to parents and posted on the district's Web site.

Murphy had been with West Clermont Schools for 10 years and previously was assistant principal of Amelia High School.

The Patrol is investigating the incident as a suicide.

03-24-2007, 10:06 AM
Yeah, that's a bridge I'd never want to have an accident on.

Whew. Just park your car, get out, look over, and jump. You would think someone would have pulled over or something.

03-24-2007, 10:15 AM
No mention of husband, kids or parents. This sounds very lonely.

03-24-2007, 12:05 PM
Sad story.

I'll go kayaking on the Little Miami River in the summer, and one of the kayaking routes takes you right underneath that bridge. When you're in the river and look up toward that bridge, it's so far up that it almost looks like it's in another atmosphere.

The water isn't very deep in that section of river either, that's for sure.

03-25-2007, 01:28 PM
No mention of husband, kids or parents. This sounds very lonely.Rumors swirling around is that a relationship between her and another teacher had ended the day before during a fight in the parking lot. I won't get into specifics, but kids are not possible in her relationship if what was said is true.

03-25-2007, 02:01 PM
Women usually want to leave a good looking corpse.

Men use guns, women use pills.

Like I said, it must have been terrible dispair.

Roy Tucker
03-27-2007, 10:22 AM
We go biking along the Little Miami trail all the time. An in-family joke is that we call it the world's tallest bridge.

Seemed that this lady touched a lot of lives. Sad. Some things just aren't meant to be understood.


Principal's friends mourn her
Upbeat woman's suicide came as a shock

UNION TWP. - About 600 people came together Monday, struggling to imagine a world without Eileen Murphy.

It will be a world without her smile, without her guidance and without the funny fish faces she made at administrative staff meetings.

That's just a glimpse of Murphy, the Summerside Elementary principal who was eulogized during a memorial service at the Glen Este High School Performing Arts Center. The crowd included family, friends, Summerside parents, students and staff, administrators and school board members.

The high school stage was lined with flowers, a portrait of Murphy and a cutout of the Summerside eagle mascot. Eulogies, prayers and music were laced with references to her proud Irish heritage. The family will hold a memorial gathering from 10 a.m. to noon today at E.C. Nurre Funeral Home, 177 W. Main St., Amelia.

Those attending Monday's service struggled, too, to understand how such an upbeat person's life ended the way it did. Murphy, 55, jumped to her death from the Interstate 71 bridge over the Little Miami River in Warren County last Thursday. There may never be an answer.

"We're gathered here today to commemorate the life and times of one of the most awesome principals we've ever had at Summerside Elementary," said West Clermont Superintendent Gary Brooks. "It's hard to make sense of any death, particularly when a shining star like Eileen is snuffed out in such a tragic manner."

Brooks was at Summerside on Monday, the first day back in session for students and staff since Murphy's death. He almost expected to see her coming around the corner, saying, "Hey Brooksie, how's it going?" and doling out high-fives.

"It's hard to imagine a world without Eileen," he said.

Brooks and other speakers focused on her life.

Murphy was an educator for 33 years. She served the last 10 of those as Summerside principal. Before that, she was assistant principal at Amelia Middle School, a speech therapist in the Milford School District and a supervisor at the Clermont County Education Service Center.

Barb Dardy, retired Amelia Elementary principal and now acting Summerside principal, met Murphy in 1990, when Dardy was new to the district. Murphy reached out and made her feel welcome.

"What I didn't know then, but what I do know now is that Eileen was the person who lit up in the room in any situation she was in. ... She was truly a stand-up comic, and we loved her for that," Dardy said.

Murphy, she said, put her needs on the farthest back burner to help others. She never wanted praise. "She shied away from it, and for Eileen to be shy about anything was pretty remarkable in itself," Dardy said.

Six-day weeks were common for Murphy, who often worked until early evenings at Summerside, a school that she guided to an "excellent" rating on the state's Local Report Card that measures academic achievement.

Though she didn't have children of her own, the thousands of children who have attended Summerside were her kids. She always attended school functions, was routinely with children in the classroom and ate lunch with them.

"They loved Ms. Murphy like no child has ever loved a principal," Dardy said.

And she loved them back.

"Eileen always reached out and gave real or virtual bear hugs," Dardy said. "I believe that is why she was put on this earth, to bear hug people so they'd become the best they could be."

She was described as a woman who was always generous with her smiles and her time, always knew the right thing to say at the right time, and could make people laugh in the most difficult of times.

Her sister Marilyn Hanke said, "Eileen would want us to go on, and she would want us to smile."

03-27-2007, 11:41 AM
Women usually want to leave a good looking corpse.

Men use guns, women use pills.

Like I said, it must have been terrible dispair.

Or some other serious problem. I haven't seen it, but I saw some parts of a documentary that was filmed of people jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge. The filmmakers monitored the bridge for jumpers for an entire year. If they saw someone about to jump, they tried to get help if they could. They also interviewed the families and the one survivor to talk about why the person jumped and how it affected the lives of their friends and family. It seems some jump out of loneliness or despair, but many just have some sort of mental problem that causes them to jump. I think the guy who survived talked about having this ongoing battle with a voice in his head that kept telling him to end his life, even though he didn't want to and his life was otherwise happy. Eventually the voice telling him to jump got so strong he couldn't fight it anymore. Maybe a failed relationship was the trigger, but it might not have been the real cause.