George Alex Purcell, 75, of Cortland, NY, passed away peacefully at home from lung cancer on October 24, 2009.
Born in Cortland, NY, on October 16, 1934, George graduated from Cortland High School in 1952, followed by service in the U.S. Navy Security 1953-1957. George is a graduate of SUNY Cortland, where he received his B.S. in Education in 1961 and M.S. in Education in 1966. In 1969, George received his permanent elementary school principal certification from The State Education Department of The University of the State of New York. That same year, he attended summer school at the University of Southampton, England, where he completed courses in Shakespeareââ€š¬ââ‚¬Å“The Roman Histories; Contemporary Britain; Archeology; and Mediterranean Studies.
George taught in Germantown, NY, 1963-1964; Haverstraw, NY, 1964-1965; and Virgil, NY, 1965-1970. George was principal of Virgil and Pomeroy Elementary Schools 1971-1979, and principal of Randall Elementary School 1979-1992. George retired on July 1, 1992.
George was a member of the Masonic Lodge in Homer, University Club, and Cortland Country Club, as well as a past board member of the 1890 House and SUNY Cortland Alumni Association.
George is survived by his wife, Maria Dillingham Purcell; son, Kirk (Ellyn) Purcell; stepchildren, Deedee, Vicki, and Tim (Tami) Dillingham; foster son, Frank (Tammy) Margan ; step grandchildren, Jake and Taylor Dillingham, and Natalie, Collin, and Gretchen Gaines; brother-in-law Philip (Marilyn) Natoli and several cousins.
George is predeceased by his parents, George Purcell and Carlotta Tot Goodale; first wife, Roberta Bobbi Purcell; several aunts, uncles, and cousins; and his miniature poodle, Bigi.Calling hours will be held Tuesday October 27, 2009 from 3:00- 4:45 PM at the Wright-Beard Funeral Home, 9 Lincoln Ave., Cortland, followed by a memorial service at 5: 00 pm. Thereafter, a reception for family and friends will be held at the Purcell home. A private burial will be held at a later date at the West Homer Cemetery.In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Cancer Societys Relay for Life, c/o Walkie-Talkie Team, and mailed to Bev Ryan, 1266 Bell Drive, Cortland, NY 13045.
Dear Maria and family, Love and prayers to all of you. Alex was certainly a very special person. He was a joy to be around and certain he will be missed by many. Carol Bailey
Our deepest sympathies. So many of us knew and worked with George over the years. From Cortland Area Retired Teacher's Association
Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, Maria. Friends are forever; lean on them! Joan Mudge Fitch
MARIA, THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING ME TO BE A PART OF ALEX'S LIFE THESE LAST WEEKS. IT WAS A PRIVLEDGE. YOU GAVE HIM THE BEST GIFT AND DID A WONDERFUL JOB. I WILL MISS YOU. GALE
Maria and Family, God Bless all of you. George and I met when he was principal at Pomeroy School. My children adored him. We worked closely through those years and he was always there for the better of his students and their families. I know he will be greatly missed. Dottie Searls
Kirk, I was sorry to hear of the passing of your father. 75 seems young in comparison to my mother who is 88 and father who is 91. I haven't had to deal with those issues yet. I would like to visit the calling hours tomorrow however, I have standing appointments to pick my father up at the nursing home (Van Duyn) on Tuesday's & Thursdays. I arrange for Call A Bus a week in advance to pick him up at home and take him to Van Duyn at 2 PM every Tuesday & Thursday to visit my mother. I pick him up after I get out of work. Al Pedrotti
Dear Maria, I just heard of George's passing. I am deeply sorry for your loss. I'm sure you know that my experiences as a principal were so much more enjoyable as a result of George's quick wit and great sense of humor. I will treasure my memories of him and wish you and all your family members our deepest sympathies. Robert & Mary Lee Carsello
Maria and family, I am so sorry to hear of George's passing. I loved working for George at Randall School. He was such a great, supportive administrator. He made our jobs easier. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Sincerely, Mary Pajonas Rush
Dear Maria, My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time of sorrow. Lynne Carpenter Massey
Kirk, Very sorry to hear about your Dad. One of the many wonderful memories I have of my time in Cortland and the country club was of your father's wonderful wit and humor and how much of him I saw in you. Phil Chase
To Maria and all of the grieving family: My heart aches for all of you. May happy memories help to carry you through this sorrowful time. Gloria J Tucci
Dear Maria & family, You are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. My two oldest daughters went to school at Pomeroy School during the years that ALex was principal there. He was great to the kids and they all loved him. I wish you had known Alex when you were younger back when you would come to Grandma and Grandpa's house and eat dinner on a Sunday with the family so you could have brought Alex along. Grandma and Grandpa would have always made room for another mouth to feed at the table. Alex would not have left hungry for sure. God Bless You all, I want you to know you are in my thoughts and prayers. Stephie Yacano Miller