Kenneth Wayne Purcell
June 1, 1927 - August 22, 2017
Kenneth Wayne Purcell, 90 years young, passed away August 22, 2017 in Mt. Angel, Oregon. He was born June 1, 1927 in Creswell, Oregon. Ken eagerly joined the US Navy at the age of 17 and proudly served his beloved country on the USS Idaho. Ken rose to the rank of Petty Officer 3rd Class serving as an anti-aircraft Gun Captain and Gun Pointer 1st Class in some of the most intensive fighting in the South Pacific during WWII. After the war, in Virginia, he met and married his wife of 69 years, Thelma “Jean” Homan. Together they traveled west to Salem where Ken worked for his brother, Lester Purcell, as a Journeyman Plasterer. In 1955, Ken built a home for his family in Salem, where they raised two daughters and lived for the next 62 years.
Ken was an avid outdoorsman; he loved fishing for salmon out of Newport Oregon, deer hunting, camping with family and friends, traveling, gardening, and in his younger years racing motorcycles. Additionally, he enjoyed bowling in a league and was a longtime member of the Elks, Mason’s, Grow and Show garden club and VFW.
Ken was proud to be a veteran. Annually, he would travel to USS Idaho reunions and he volunteered countless hours to the 40&8 organization, American Legion and as a van driver shuttling veterans back and forth to the VA hospital. At the age of 85, Ken participated in the Honor Flight to Washington DC, to visit and reflect on the memorials of which he called this “a trip of a lifetime.”
He leaves his loving memories to be cherished by his wife Jean Purcell, daughter Katherine Vandolah, five grandchildren Jill Auborn, Jason Shipman, Shaunna Young, Brian Shipman, Tracy Goodlett, and eight great-grandchildren. He is proceeded in death by his daughter Joyce Shipman, brothers Louis Purcell, Lester Purcell, and sister, Alvera Beck.
A memorial service will be held with full military honors at Willamette National Cemetery, September 22, 2017 at 3:00 pm. Assisting the family is Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.
In lieu of flowers, spend extra time with your children, take a walk on the beach with your loved ones and make a toast to enduring friendships lifelong and beyond; that is what Ken would wish for you.