James Clark Purdy died November 1, 2022, after dealing with the debilitating aftereffects of a stroke for more than a year. He was 79.
He is survived by sons Jim (Amy), Ted (Frankie), Brad (Felicia), daughter Jaime Sellers (Andy), five grandchildren, Sam, Andie, Logan, Lucas and Oliver, brother Dick (Mary) and sisters Mary Jane (Mike) and Jill. He was preceded in death by parents, Richard and Daisy, his beloved wife, Jo-em, and daughter, Becky.
Known by his friends and family as both “Jim” and “Papa Purds,” he always seemed to be in a good mood and have a smile on his face. Jim loved to joke around and have fun. He was a supportive father and loyal friend. He was famously fastidious and a classy dresser. “He was always the guy with the yellow shirt and the blue crewneck sweater,” his brother, Dick, said.
Jim loved the outdoors and the Ponderosa pines in Pinetop. He loved the sound of waves crashing on the beaches of Rocky Point and California. He loved houseboating on Lake Powell. In younger days, he enjoyed pheasant hunting and skiing. He was a lifelong 18-handicap golfer.
Born and raised in Michigan, Jim graduated from Parsons College, then married classmate Joanne Huiskamp of Keokuk, Iowa. He got drafted and served as an Air Force lieutenant during the Viet-Nam War, stationed in such places as Okinawa, Tripoli and Reykjavik.
He moved the family to Phoenix in the early ’70s, where he worked for a nascent telecommunications company, Inter-Tel, as a VP of sales. He later ran Heartland Insurance Co. He was involved with early solar energy projects and he and his son, Ted, built spec homes and a small development in Whitefish, Montana.
Jim loved family get-togethers, especially on Thanksgiving and Christmas. He always made sure that those special dinners included his favorite “smashed” potatoes and mimosas. It became an enduring family tradition to gleefully yell “gobble, gobble, gobble” when family members would arrive to festivities.
One of his favorite things to do was follow his son, Ted, playing golf on the PGA Tour. Proudly wearing his all-access “Papa Pass,” Jim had a knack for finding the best hospitality tents on any tournament site.
Jim also had a passion for the Midwest Food Bank in Gilbert, where loved helping and visiting with volunteers and people getting food. He even tried to get his commercial trucking license recently, so he could help haul supplies, but he was never healthy enough to drive.
The Purdy family heartily thanks Josefina Duarte, who was Jim’s dutiful and loving caregiver during his illness. Please join the family for a celebration with tacos and beers on Saturday, November 19, 2022 from 12:00-3:00 P.M. at Aunt Chilada’s Mexican Restaurant, 7330 N. Dreamy Draw Dr., in Phoenix. Memorials could be made to the Midwest Food Bank in Gilbert. Condolences may be expressed at www.whitneymurphyfuneralhome.com.