Earl Gordon Purvis, Jr., son of Earl Gordon Purvis, Sr., and Lola Jewel Ashley, was born June 4, 1944 at St. Joseph, La., and died on Oct. 25, 2013 at his home in Marshalltown at the age of 69 years surrounded by his loving family.
Memorial services will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29 at the Mitchell Family Funeral Home. Visitation will be held one-hour prior to the services at the funeral home. Per Earl’s request, please come in casual attire. Full military honors will be presented by the combined honor guard of the Veterans of Foreign Wars No. 839 and Frank Lewis Glick American Legion Post No. 46. For condolences, visit www.mitchellfh.com or call (641) 844-1234.
Earl was lovingly known by many nicknames: Junior, J.R., Bobo, Purv and most importantly, Dad and Papa. He was raised and educated in St. Joseph, La. Just as Earl entered high school, the family moved to Centerville, when his dad gained employment on the pipeline. He graduated from Centerville High School in 1962. Following high school, Earl worked at a local plumbing and heating business in Centerville, farmed and milked cows. In 1963, he enlisted in the United States Navy as a Seabee. He was stationed at the Cape Hatteras Naval Facility during the Vietnam War where he worked as an electrician, a construction worker and a fire truck and ambulance driver for the Navy. Earl was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1967.
Earl was the father of five daughters: Michele, Lisa, Julie, Tami and Jacque. They were the children of his marriage to Karen Gregory.
Earl was a farmer and cattle feeder in the Centerville area following his marriage. He began his employment at Fisher Controls in Marshalltown on Oct. 16, 1967. He worked mainly in the nuclear valves department as a senior order tracer and customer service representative. Many customers of Fisher Controls wholeheartedly trusted Earl with their order and knew he’d get the job done and do it well. In 2002, Earl retired.
While employed at Fisher Controls, Earl met and later married his best friend, Paula Boehmer Griggs. He then became step-father to Paula’s daughter, Angie.
His hobbies included hunting, fishing, gardening, vacationing with his family and he could BS with the best of them. He knew no stranger and could have a conversation with anyone. Earl loved all animals, big and small, and often had a “pet” squirrel, chipmunk, or bird living in the yard. His laugh was infectious and he greatly enjoyed interjecting his one-liners into the conversation.
During his retirement he enjoyed his garden, caring for his yard, visiting with his friends and watching Fox News and westerns. He was a die-hard Republican and would discuss politics with whoever would listen.
Earl was preceded in death by his parents Lola and Lee Moffatt and Earl Sr. and Opal Purvis, his in-laws, Dean and Helen Chambers, and his beloved cocker spaniel, Nikki. He is survived by his wife, Paula Purvis of Marshalltown; his daughters: Michele and Chuck Limberis of Eden Prairie, Minn., Lisa and Doug Bergman of Lakeville, Minn., Julie Purvis and Bryce Hutcheson of Eldora, Tami Purvis of Grundy Center, Jacque and Gabe Bowles of Grundy Center and Angie and DJ Eastman of Marshalltown; and 15 grandchildren: Tom, Aly, Alex and Amara Limberis; Meghan and Ryan Bergman; Devon and Chasyti Erickson and Hunter Purvis; Jayden, Jaedrek and Jariyah Bowles and Layken, Quinn and Emerson Eastman. Earl is also survived by his siblings: Earlene Purvis, Frances (Ed) Woodliff, Elaine (Larry) Abel, Jerry Purvis, Shirley Kimberling (Bob Magnus), Terry (Deb) Purvis and Charlotte (Dennie) Fenton, as well as step-sister Kathy Sewell, step-brother Edward Moffatt, numerous nieces and nephews, and many, many friends.
The world is a better place because you were in it, Earl, and you were loved more than you know.