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William Edward Purnell, known as "Bill", was born on November 23rd, 1928 in Philadelphia, PA and departed this life on March 17th, 2023. His parents were George Purnell and Alexzena Plater-Purnell. He was the youngest of 5 children, having 2 brothers, Leon and George and 2 sisters, Helen and Elizabeth. Bill graduated from Cape May High School in Cape May, NJ in 1946, Shaw University in Raleigh, NC in 1950, the University of Pennsylvania School of Physical Therapy in Philadelphia, PA in 1951 and the City University of Los Angeles in Los Angeles, CA in 1978.
After serving 2 years in the U.S. Army from 1951 to 1953 with a tour of duty in the Korean War, Bill was joined in Holy Matrimony for 67 years to the late Rosa Lee Christine Alexander on September 5th, 1953 in Philadelphia, PA. This union produced 3 sons; Glenn, Mark and William Jr. They raised their family across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, PA in Camden, NJ.
Bill was a 3 sport athlete in high school and a 2 sport athlete in college. After playing football, basketball and track & field in high school and football and track & field in college, Bill gave back to his community by volunteering as Director of Activities in the 1960's for boys clubs at 2 churches and a community center in Camden, NJ. In the 1970's, Bill was a track & field official at high school track meets throughout New Jersey.
From 1953 to 1991, Bill practiced Physical Therapy in Hospitals, Clinics, Rehabilitation Centers and Private Practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Bill moved to Omaha, NE from Camden, NJ with his wife Christine in 1991 after they both retired. Once in Omaha, he was employed part-time by the Omaha Schools Foundation, Alegent Health and finally the Christ Child Society while also serving on the Horizon Townhomes Association Board of Directors for many years.
After accepting Christ as his Lord and savior, Bill worshipped and served at many churches in his life including those in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Nebraska from the Franklin Street Methodist Church in Cape May, NJ to the Freedom Church AOG / Freedom Worship Center AOG in Omaha, NE. He served as a Board member as well as other ministries including usher, greeter, hospitality, intercessor, prayer and home visitations to fellow church members while attending Freedom Church AOG / Freedom Worship Center AOG.
Bill was a faithful husband and father, loving, kind and generous person. He consistently demonstrated his Christian love in his church and community and was always mindful of the love of Christ.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, 4 siblings and late wife Christine. He is survived by 3 sons; Glenn (Gloria), of Camden NJ, Mark (McKell) of Papillion, NE and William Jr. of Omaha, NE; 2 grandsons; Ronald (Irene) of San Antonio, TX and Timothy of Camden, NJ; 3 surrogate granddaughters; Mackleen Deloatch of Maple Shade, NJ, Athena Roberson of Omaha, NE and Makayla Goodman of Papillion, NE; 5 great-grandchildren; Anthony, Austin, Christian, Kira and Ailani; and a host of nephews, nieces, cousins, church family and friends.
Visitation Monday (3/27/23) 5:00 - 7:00 PM at Roeder Mortuary. Graveside Service Tuesday (3/28/23) 11:00 AM Mt. Hope Cemetery 7602 Military Ave. Omaha, NE.
Roeder Mortuary Ames Chapel
4923 Ames Ave. Omaha, NE 68104
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