The Murdocks’ Paradise Friendly Home
The speaker for our Winter Meeting was Teresa Ray who spoke about her upbringing in the South Graves County orphanage, Paradise Friendly Home, and her project “Paradise Friendly Home Revisited”. Teresa became a resident of Paradise Friendly Home in December 1961 and lived there until her high school graduation in 1967. She spoke of the founders, Leslie and Thelma Murdock, about how she came to be a resident, about life with 50-70 “siblings”, and the demise of the orphanage. Although in the beginning (1935) the Murdocks did not receive any financial or other assistance, eventually almost all of Western Kentucky, through churches, service organizations, educational organizations and individuals, pitched in and helped in some way. The first building was the Murdocks’ two bedroom home but the physical plant grew to five buildings in order to house the estimated 500 children they parented from 1935 until 1978.
Ms. Ray has undertaken the task of preserving the story of the Murdocks and the orphanage. The task has been named Paradise Friendly Home Revisited and its stated purpose is to “identify, gather and archive the oral histories of the children, staff, and families who lived at Paradise Friendly Home between the years of 1935 and 1978″. The oral histories are also being collected for the Kentucky Historical Society’s Oral History Commission. More information on this project, along with pictures of the Murdocks, can be found on the website: www.paradisefriendlyhome.com. Ms. Ray also hopes to write a book about Paradise Friendly Home and its children.
If you haven’t already, please listen to our interview with Teresa; you will find it under the podcast category on the right side of this webpage.