Purcell Family of America

An association to help those trace the Purcell family line

Remembering Our Founder
Todd Yost Purcell
May 2, 1924-September 3, 2011


Our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and brother peacefully returned to Heavenly Father on
September 3, 2011. Todd was born on May 2, 1924 in Ucon, Idaho to Arthur L. and Agnes L. Purcell. He grew up in Plano, Idaho until he left home to go to Ricks College. Shortly after, he enlisted in the U.S. Army where he served as a paratrooper in the 11th Airborne, spending 10 months in the Philippines. Upon his return, he continued his education and graduated from Utah State University in 1950. In 1948, Todd married June Packer in the Idaho Falls Temple and they have five children: Margie Christensen (Casey), LaJean Carruth (Brent), Arthur L. Purcell (Beth), T. Robert Purcell (Heather), and Dianne Wayment (Kelly). His careers, first with the Boy Scouts of America and later with New York Life Insurance Company, began in Idaho and then took him to Alaska for six years, Washington State for eleven years, and Oregon for three years until he settled in Salt Lake City in 1972. Todd was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in numerous callings throughout his life including Bishop (Yakima, WA) and a mission, together with June, in the Salt Lake City Inner City Project Mission from 1998 to 2000. 40 years ago, Todd and June started the Purcell Family of America genealogical association and it continues today, helping an untold number of people in their family history research. Todd loved fly fishing in Idaho an spent many memorable summers fishing and teaching children and grandchildren to fish. He loved music and encouraged and generously supported music lessons for many grandchildren. He loved being with family and frequently said, "I have a wonderful family." He enjoyed every moment spent with family. He leaves a legacy of integrity, love, hard work, and faithfulness to his wife of nearly 63 years, five children, 24 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Sep. 9, 2011 at the Kearns 10th Ward chapel, 5025 W. 4825 South. Two weeks before passing away, Dad returned from the care center to his home.  More than anything else, he wanted to be with June in their home.  I was there when he came home and I wheeled his chair into the house.  It was a very happy reunion with Mom.  They were home together.  At this time, Dad had limited mobility and could not stand on his own. A while after settling into his favorite chair, he turned to Mom and said, “June, can I do anything for you?” I could not help but laugh a little.  Here was Dad, confined to a chair and unable to get up on his own, and he was asking June if he
could do anything for her.  A very kind and sincere thought. At this time, we were told that Dad may have six months left.  Within a week, that changed to just two weeks, and then a few days later, we were told just two days.   They were correct.  We were there for his final two days.  On Sep. 3rd, he
took his last breath and his spirit peacefully left his body.  As family gathered at the house, it was a day of spiritual peace.  We knew Dad was enjoying a wonderful reunion in heaven,
free of physical restrictions and pain.  In a way, we were happy for him.  The sorrow for ourselves was overshadowed by our joy for him.  Throughout the day, we told stories and
even enjoyed some laughs together.  At one point I wondered
if we were being disrespectful or irreverent.  But then I readsome words that Dad had written many years earlier and had spoken at others’ funerals: May it not be possible that we should be more sorrowful when a new soul enters this earthly world to fight the way
through to the end than for the one who has done their work
here and has made the trip home?  When it is time for one who has lived a full life, to take the trip across, should we feel sad that they are going to a place where everything is peace and
beauty?  Need the end of life be more sad than the beginning?
We were sad, . . . . but we were happy also. Dad leaves a wonderful legacy.  He taught us by example. He lived a life of integrity.  His life  motivates me to try to be a better person, to
accept others, to love, to give, and to forgive. What would Dad’s final words be?  He would ask us to care for June, our mother.  Perhaps he would quote the words of Jesus as recorded in John 19:27, Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother!” Dad, we love you.   Thank you for your righteous example.  We will live to honor your example. Robert Purcell Sep. 9, 2011 was Dad’s funeral. The following day, we traveled to Plano, Idaho for the burial. It was a beautiful day in Plano, about 85 degrees, sunny, and no breeze. We were one of the first to arrive at the Plano Cemetery. We had requested fullmilitary honors and two groups were there, a group of young National Guardsmen in full dress uniform and a group of WW II veterans. I thanked them for being there. I greeted people as they arrived and enjoyed their memories of Dad. Many who
grew up with Mom and Dad attended. As the time grew near, with military men standing at
perfect attention, I participated as a pallbearer to carry Dad’s
casket from the hearse to the grave site and placed it over the grave site. Bishop Gilgen, Dad’s bishop in the LDS Kearns 10th Ward, drove all the way to Plano to officiate. Art
dedicated the grave. The WWII veterans then read a tribute, during which a small flock of ducks flew directly overhead. Perfect timing for a "flyover". One veteran then offered a
military prayer and then four riflemen provided a gun salute, each firing three times. The National Guardsmen then played Taps and performed the flag folding ceremony, removing the
flag from atop the casket and perfectly folding it with utmost
dignity and presenting the folded flag to Art, and saluted. The pallbearers removed the flowers we wore and placed them on the casket. Then it was over – a reverent and dignified ceremony to
say goodbye to Dad. I know it is a temporary separation. His spirit is alive and enjoying a glorious reunion with his parents, two brothers, a sister, and many other relatives and friends. In
Dad’s own words, "Shouldn’t we rejoice more for a person who leaves this world to go to the next stage of life than for a newborn baby who faces a life of pain and challenges?"
He made it. He endured. He graduated. He is free of pain and physical limitations. He would tell us to celebrate that. I always tried to honor him. I always loved him. I still love him. And somehow, I love him even more today.

Thank you Dad. I love you.

-Robert

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Daniel Purcell, our webmaster, remembers his
grandfather:

My grandfather had a sense of humor. He was very good
at telling a joke with such a straight face that you didn't know
if he was joking or serious.  He also liked to tell stories.  For
Christmas he would read a children's book into a tape recorder
and send us the book and the tape of him reading it to us as a
gift. I used to spend my summers with him when I was young.
We would swim together. He taught all of us grandchildren
how to dive.  We would watch movies on his big screen TV in
his basement (usually black and white Tarzan shows on Beta-
max format).  He would make sure there was candy (usually
cinamon Red Hots) in the jars next to the couch down stairs.
One summer he built a tree house in the oak tree in the
back yard.  We children would spend hours in the treehouse
with the wooden swords he also made for us.
He always had nice things to say about others, and was
an upbeat, positive person who made you feel good being around him.

-Grandson Daniel Purcell