James Purcell ~ 1933-2017
Oct 05, 2017 | 2897 views | 0 0 comments | 256 256 recommendations | email to a friend | print
James Purcell ~ 1933-2017
James Purcell ~ 1933-2017
James Edward Purcell, 84, passed away peacefully in his home, surrounded by family, on the morning of Sept. 27, 2017. A resident of Moab since 1957, He was born in Tucumcari, New Mexico on Jan. 12, 1933 to Van Zant Purcell and Elva Wright Purcell.

James grew up in Texas. From a young age, he was considered a hard worker. He moved with his family to Utah in 1951 where he began working in the uranium mines. He loved to tell his children and grandchildren how he dropped out of school at the age of 14 and rebuilt the motor on an old tractor for his mother and began helping her on the farm. James always rose to the task.

James met Era Funk (who was working as a school teacher in Summit Point, Utah) at a bible-study group. The two fell in love and after a short courtship and were married on July 25, 1953. The marriage was held just days before he left for his service in the army. James was stationed at Fort Bliss, in El Paso Texas. Despite his lack of much formal education, the army recognized James’ aptitude for all things electrical and he was promoted to the position of radar instructor.

In 1957 James moved his family to Moab to work on an oil rig near Dead Horse Point. One year later he was hired by Utah Power and Light as an apprentice lineman and eventually achieved his journeyman lineman certification. James was an active member in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers until his death. James worked for Utah Power and Light for 30 years and retired when he was 56. He was very proud of his safety record working with high-voltage electricity without one lost-time accident.

James enjoyed woodworking and construction. He built his home on Spanish Valley Drive (which was known as Poverty Flats at the time) in 1960 and lived there until his death. When his kids were small he enjoyed going fishing and camping and joked that he, “always got his truck stuck at Hidden Lake.” After their kids were grown, James and Era went on several cross-country trips with their travel trailer. They loved to visit new places.

James has joined his wife and their youngest daughter, Shelly Marie, in heaven. He is survived by his daughters, Charlotte Gary and her husband Dave, Debra Perkins and her husband Kenneth, and Leslie Balling and her husband Gregg; his grandchildren, Candice and Megan Gary, Season (Perkins) Hatcher and her husband Micah, Angela and Cameron Phillips and Riley Balling.

There will be a viewing at Spanish Valley Mortuary on Thursday, Oct. 5 between 6 and 8 p.m. James’ service will be held at the Assembly of God Church, located at 1205 South Boulder Ave. in Moab, on Friday, Oct. 6 at 11 a.m. with a graveside service to follow.

The family would like to offer their deepest thanks to all of James’ caregivers from Four Corners Healthcare over the years. Also, to everyone with Grand County Hospice who provided wonderful support and peace of mind at the end of this journey, thank you all so much.

You may send condolences to the family at www.spanishvalleymortuary.com

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.