Transportation 22

Thomas E. Purdy

July 13, 1929 ~ April 19, 2019 (age 89)


Thomas E. Purdy, 89, of Williams Street in Pittsfield, passed away on Friday morning, April, 19, 2019 at home in the company of his family.
Tom was born on July 13, 1929 in McComas, West Virginia to Trana Bailey Purdy and Philip James Purdy. He was one of six children and had a twin sister.
A 1947 graduate of McComas High School, he enlisted in the Air Force and served during the Korean War from December, 1950 until May, 1955. Duty stations included Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas and Elmendorph Air Force base with the 5005th Hospital Group in Anchorage, Alaska. There he met his future wife, Norma M. Cassavant, from Pittsfield, MA. who was an Air Force nurse. They were married on October 23, 1954 at Notre Dame Church in Pittsfield.
After discharge from the Air Force they returned to the Berkshires and settled in Pittsfield. Tom worked for Ermino Barbalunga Construction for thirteen years. In 1967 Basil "Rick" Petricca hired him as the first employee of the Unistress Corporation where Tom worked as a Construction Superintendent for 25 years until his retirement in 1992.
Tom was a member of the Disabled American Veterans. He enjoyed bluegrass music, NASCAR racing and bowling. For many years he maintained a vegetable garden plot at the Canoe Meadows Community Gardens. An accomplished craftsman, he created wooden Christmas trees, snowmen and other tree ornaments on his lathe and happily shared them with family and friends. For over 40 years he enjoyed a daily cup of coffee with his friends at Joanne's Luncheonette in Pittsfield. His pride and joy was a 1951 Dodge M 37 weapons carrier known as "The Mule", given to him by Rick Petricca. Tom restored the truck and entered it in local antique car shows, often winning the "People's Choice" award category. In 2004, in honor of their 50th wedding anniversary, their children sent Tom and Norma on a cruise through the Inside Passage of Alaska. Tom was a family man and, above all, enjoyed spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren.
Tom was predeceased by his parents, his three brothers and two sisters. A daughter, Aimee Purdy Wilson died in 1994.
Survivors include Norma, his wife of 64 years, his daughters Susan (spouse Kurt Kuehnel) of Dalton, Patricia (spouse Andrew DeVries) of Middlefield, Kristin (spouse John Burnish III) of Ogden, Utah, his son John (wife Cheri Schluter) of Monroe, Washington, grandchildren Caitlin Wilson Nelson, Stephanie Burnish and John Burnish IV and many nieces and nephews. Also left to remember him is Jim Torra whom Tom loved like a son.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Mehernosh Khan, Dr. Dan Doyle and Dr. Julio Miranda of Berkshire Medical Center, the staff at the Veterans Clinic on Eagle Street in Pittsfield and the Hospice of the Berkshires staff for their compassionate care of Tom.
There will be no calling hours or formal service. At the convenience of the family a remembrance gathering may be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Mr. Purdy's name may be made to the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at Berkshire Medical Center or the Pittsfield South Little League Fund, in care of the Devanny-Condron Funeral Home which is handling final arrangements.

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