Thelma Sophronia Berry Dunphy

EMBDEN – Thelma Sophronia Berry Dunphy, 101, of Embden, passed away peacefully surrounded by loved ones on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019 at her home in Embden. Thelma was born on August 9, 1918 in North Anson to Charles and Leila (Mullen) Berry.  She was the fourth of six children.

Thelma’s father died when she was 10 and she was a great support for her mother. She graduated from Anson Academy in 1936 and went on to attend Farmington Normal School graduating with a Department of Education Professional Teacher’s Certificate in 1939. She later earned her Bachelor of Science degree at Farmington State College in 1970. Thelma absolutely loved teaching and it truly changed her life. At her first teaching position in Highland Plantation in 1939 she was introduced to her future husband, Robert L. Dunphy by her students, his siblings. Thelma and Bob married in June of 1941. In 1954, they eventually built their permanent home in Embden on land Thelma had purchased and there they raised their family.

Thelma’s teaching career spanned 33 years. She taught in Highland Plantation, West New Portland, Canaan, North Anson and Embden. She was disciplined and organized, and her classroom reflected these qualities. She emphasized good study habits and made learning fun and applicable. Thelma was blessed to see ample evidence of the “harvest” of the many young minds who had benefited from her gift of teaching. She retired in 1981 after teaching many children of students she had taught over the years. Years later she was heard to remark that she hoped she would be able to teach when she was in heaven.

Thelma enjoyed mowing the lawn and tending her flower gardens. She stayed engaged in the community as a 4-H leader, volunteer at the library and tutor for students facing challenges in school. She was forever a teacher and she loved life and celebrated it daily. Thelma loved sharing this joy with others through her words of wisdom and embracing her life as a living example. She nurtured this love for her family and found numerous ways to show them how important they were to her. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren have memories with ”Nanny “. Rootbeer floats, George Washington cake, strawberry picking and molasses cookies with tea, Werthers Original candies, outings to McDonalds and walks to search for 4leaf clovers, learning to cook and being read to and rocked. After retiring Thelma also made quilts. Over 40! Most of the recipients still have this expression of love. She also made doll quilts and gifted any little girl that happened to come to her home.

Thelma was a member of the Somerset County Retired Teachers Association, Lexington Highland Historical Society and Embden Historical Society. She received the Boston Post Cane on July 7th 2013 as the oldest resident of Embden.

Thelma was predeceased by her husband, Robert Dunphy; by her parents; her siblings, Lyman (Buster), Violet, Hazel, Roland (Rasty) and Rosalie; a grandson, Rusty; and two great-grandchildren, Hannah and Donovan. What a glorious reunion there was!

She is survived by children Gary (Lisa) Dunphy, Betty Dunphy Kempton, Robert A. (Dottie) Dunphy, Larry (Cindy) Dunphy and Bonnie Dunphy; grandchildren, Penny, Troy, Tanya, Gabe, Kasean , Desiree, Missy Patrick, Mandy, Pamela, Karen, Lynda, Tim, Steven, Trish, Tyler, Heidi and Christopher; numerous great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

Please join Thelma’s family to celebrate her life on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2019 at 1 p.m. at First Congregational Church in North Anson. Burial will be in the spring in Sunset Cemetery in North Anson. Arrangements are under the care and direction of Giberson Funeral Home and Cremation Services. To leave a condolence for the family and to view the online obituary, please visit

In lieu of flowers, please send a donation in Thelma’s name to Ronald McDonald House, 250 Brackett St., Portland, ME 04102.