Nicholas Eugene Purdy, known to friends simply as “Nick,” passed away quietly on Tuesday, September 19, 2023 in Perry, Georgia, at the age of 88.
Nick and his twin sister, Natalie were born on Jan 9, 1935, to Gladys & Ralph Purdy Sr. He was raised in Hamilton, New York, with five brothers and two sisters. Nick played sports in high school and worked odd jobs such as, pinsetting at the local bowling alley and shoveling coal at Colgate University on the side.
In 1953, he followed three of his older brother's footsteps into the armed forces. Nick chose the United States Air Force and trained as a Radio Operator. His service career took him to locations around the world as well as many places in the United States. He devoted 20 years to serving his country with honor and distinction and retired with the rank of Technical Sergeant on December 31, 1973. Thereafter, Nick continued to demonstrate his lifelong patriotism by proudly displaying the American flag in front of his home.
Prior to enlisting, Nick met and courted Marilyn Meade of Englewood, New Jersey, during visits to her family’s homestead in Hamilton. Ten years later they reconnected, fell in love, and were married. Upon retiring from the United States Air Force, they returned to the Hamilton area in early 1974 and settled into a house of their own in Earlville, New York. Now, with more room, the family expanded their love for animals by adopting two black labs in addition to their feline menagerie.
Following his United States Air Force retirement, Nick’s second career began with driving commercial vehicles locally. Then in 1982, he found his ideal job, driving for GANY (Gallery Association of New York.) His responsibilities included the secure packaging, transport, & delivery of valuable works of art to and from galleries and private estates throughout the northeast. This was a technically challenging job that he truly enjoyed. Upon retiring from GANY in 1997, Nick entered semi-retirement, working part-time in the law libraries of Camp Georgetown & Camp Pharsalia Prisons.
In January 1979, his personal life took a life-altering turn when he admitted that he was an alcoholic and he turned his life over to a higher being. Through Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.,) he remained committed to sobriety for the rest of his days, and spent the next 44-plus years devoting his time and sharing his experiences to help guide others who also struggled with alcohol addiction. In addition, Nick and Marilyn would attend A.A. and Al-Anon conferences locally to gather emotional support for themselves, as well as to serve as key speakers in order to help others. At A.A., Nick was always willing to listen and would attend meetings five or six times a week, not only to help himself but also to support fellow A.A. members. It was there that Nick found his first true calling.
He was deeply devoted to his faith and found solace and strength in his belief in God. Along with being a Deacon & Lay Pastor for the Columbus Community Church in New York for many years, he became an integral part of the Prison Ministry & Prison A.A. meetings. His service to the church was Nick’s “other” true calling.
Nick’s hobbies also included reading, listening to music, playing board and card games, photography which included taking videos of events and parties, going bowling, watching the history channel, exercising and staying in shape, long walks with the dogs up the hill behind his house, and cooking! Although he never took cooking classes, Nick had a knack for tasting something and knowing “it needs a pinch of this or that,” just like a great chef!
Once fully retired, Nick & Marilyn traveled in their minivan to visit friends and family throughout the United States, including fun adventures to the Grand Canyon and to other wonderful locations.
Nick is survived by his children, James Purdy (Phyllis), Cheryl Purdy (David), Linda Simmons (Brian), and Melissa Purdy (Luis); his siblings, Jane Chaphe Biedermann, Henry (Nancie) Purdy; fifteen grandchildren; numerous great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews; as well as remaining favorite cats, “Sammie” and “Lillie."
Nick is predeceased by his parents, Gladys and Ralph Purdy, Sr.; his wife, Marilyn (nee Meade) Purdy; his siblings, Ralph “Bill” Purdy (Jan), Robert “Spike” Purdy (Mary Jane), Walter “Fritz” Purdy (Betty), Thomas “Tom” Purdy (Marilyn), and Natalie Mills (Karl); and brothers-in-law, Wayne Chaphe and Karl Biedermann.
A celebration to honor Nick’s life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 21, 2023, at the Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1631 Green Street, Warner Robins, Georgia. Friends and family are invited to attend and pay their respects.
Please note CASUAL ATTIRE is preferred, so please feel free to wear something that reminds you of Nick, (i.e. patriotic colors, a special T-shirt featuring a cat or dog, Mickey Mouse, or one or more Peanut characters, or a similar design that Nick would have enjoyed or found amusing.)
An out-of-state celebration of life will be held in New Berlin, New York, in December with the exact date and time to be announced. For more info on this, please e-mail: “NICKPURDY.CLASSOF53@gmail.com”.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made “In Memory of Nick Purdy” to one of these animal rescue charities; Frankie’s Feline Fund, 167 West 73rd Street #6, New York, New York 10023; or to the Permian Basin Animal Advocates, 4706 N. Midkiff Road, STE 22 PBM 155, Midland, Texas 79705.
Nick will be remembered for his selflessness, dependability, love of family, unwavering faith, and dedication to his community. He will be missed and his memory will forever live on in the hearts of all those who knew and loved him.
May Nick always know just how much he was loved, and may all those whose lives he touched continue to live “one day at a time.”To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of TSgt. Nicholas Eugene Purdy, USAF (Ret.), please visit our flower store.