Purcell Family of America
An association to help those trace the Purcell family line
The Purcell Name
Remembrance, Reunion...and Remarkable Cemeteries
Posted: 23 April 2010 at 2:55 p.m.
my Uncle Jack….
Everyone probably has a favorite relative. In my case, my Uncle Jack and Aunt Ce certainly have influenced my life over the years. In my last column in January I expressed to you the importance of ‘paying respects.’ I am glad I visited my Uncle Jack and Aunt Ce before he passed away on Sunday, March 21. My wife Fran and I traveled to Atlantic Beach, FL, 45 minutes east southeast of Jacksonville, for Jack’s Memorial on Friday afternoon, April 9th. There were about twenty cousins and relatives, and another twenty-five or more friends from Fleet Landing, a progressive care facility they became charter members of in 1990. In this PFofA Newsletter we publish his obituary. I have also included below remembrances shared by his relatives, including myself.
Jack and Ce’s niece, the Rev. Ruth Atterberry, compiled Uncle Jack’s Memorial from comments from relatives and friends. She cited his ‘gratefulness’ and added a quote from Brother David Stendl-Rast, ‘we are not grateful because we are happy, but we are happy because we are grateful.’ “It’s easy for me to think that while Uncle Jack’s accomplishments did indeed embody greatness, it was his gratefulness for the gift of life that filled him with joy. That gratefulness motivated him to make most of the gifts he had been given – to make everything work better. It made him curious, wanting to know as much about living as he could discover. It drove his interest in other people. And it sparked his desire to see both organizations and individuals develop their own potential for greatness. Beyond happiness, such gratefulness also brings
genuine humility. And so, this great man met each of us here as equals. Besides being friends, nephews and nieces, in-laws, grands, sons, daughter, wife -- we were also his peers. It’s as if the circle of his greatness extended even to us because he could see the greatness in each of us.”
For me, it was Jack’s love of life I treasured. It wasn’t money that mattered to him, rather it was the richness of the experience of life to be shared that was so enjoyable. I always wanted to be near him and be like him.
Uncle Jack was ‘mentor’ and enjoyed learning about each person’s life and what they were involved in. Age didn’t matter to him; he was as comfortable with youngsters as with fellow residents of Fleet Landing. Sister-in-law Nelma (Montgomery) appreciated Jack as world-class tour guide, gracious host and engaging conversationalist. Granddaughter Kelly Purcell Kisser remembers sharing simple pleasures with her Grandpa, like brown sugar on grapefruit at her grandparents’ home in Red Lodge, MT during summer visits. “For someone who was ‘bigger than life’, he would make time to play with us when we were kids” notes niece Nancy (Herndon Gray).
Jack’s sailing adventures and his ability to teach the rules of the sea over the years brought together daughter Sherry Purcell Kisser and her brother Brad and their love of the sea. Sherry became a teacher and Brad worked for a while as sea captain-in-training on the Great Lakes.
Brad Purcell, Jack and Ce’s son, reminds us that appreciation for Jack’s character is reflected in a desk name-plate which someone (probably with General Motors) had made him. It reads:
Often Imitated Never Duplicated
As I mentioned in my column in January and Brad reiterates below, Jack would not have been as happy as he was without Cecile. You know the adage: “Behind every successful man, there is a wise woman.” No truer words were ever spoken in their case. In Jack’s last years, Cecile’s unfailing caring, and her ability to learn and understand the differences of how Parkinson’s disease and dementia differ from Alzheimers, meant she was able to provide the best quality of life for her husband.
Uncle Jack’s generosity in life as a parent, mentor, teacher and businessman were extraordinary. May we all aspire to lead life to its fullest as my uncle and aunt have done. As the Reverend Ruth Atterberry says, “We have all been given the gift of life. ‘For this gift, may you be grateful so that your own greatness will become your own gift to the world. Thanks be to God.’”
In this newsletter we are kicking off what will become an on-going series of articles on cemeteries. In discussions with our Editor Connie Rinaldi, we agree there is a wealth of information to be found in them and around them.
I have traveled all over the United States and to Western Europe taking photos of unusual bits of history associated with graveyards. I believe you’ll find my observations and photos over the upcoming newsletters to be quite fascinating. We will also include bits of research and organizational advice to make the most of your cemetery experience. About.com’s Kimberly Powell has assembled many photos, links and suggestions you can access at:
My first article was completely unplanned and developed while watching NBC’s genealogical mini-series called: “Who Do You Think You Are?” and specifically the segment featuring Matthew Broderick, which aired on Friday, March 26th, 2010.
If you’ve got some unusual photos or graveyard inscriptions, please share with them with our Editor Connie Rinaldi: firstname.lastname@example.org or at her home address on the last page.
Reunion – A Call to Gathering for Purcells, O’Sheas, Marosticas, etc.
Once every 2-4 years, usually 3, we have a reunion of Purcell-lineaged families (regardless of how one spells their last name) to gather together to exchange family backgrounds and genealogies and to celebrate a common family history.
This June we will be in Salt Lake City, the genealogical capital of the world. Our Reunion will be from Saturday the 19th to Tuesday, the 22nd. We kick things off with a reception on Saturday afternoon and informal dinner. Sunday there is an opportunity to see the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and in the evening we will have a Silent Auction and family-style dinner with General Association Meeting. On Monday we will have a tour of the world-famous LDS Records Library, and a presentation from our Secretary-Treasurer Michael O’Shea, who is a licensed genealogist. Following that will be a wonderful lunch at The Lion House.
We encourage you to come early in the weekend, stay an extra day or two to facilitate your genealogy research in the genealogical Mecca of the world. And, of course to see some of the most picturesque scenery the American Southwest has to offer.
Please take time to review the full program on page 16 and register now before the May 20th deadline. See you in Salt Lake City!
Joe Frank ‘J.F.’ Purcell
President, Purccll Family of America
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