COCKEYSVILLE, Md. — Joseph (Joe) Edward Purcell, 77, of Cockeysville, Md., died Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, at Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.
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Born in Centralia, Pa., June 12, 1936, he was a son of the late Joseph E. and Catherine Ellen (Coleman) Purcell.
Following graduation from Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania in 1958, he entered the U.S. Army and served for two years in Europe.
After his military service, he moved to Baltimore to begin work as a geology teacher at Kenwood High School. It was there that he met his future wife, Margaret (Peggy) Martin, in 1962; they married Nov. 23, 1963. She preceded him in death.
Joe continued to advance both his career and his academic base in the subsequent years, earning a Master of Liberal Arts from Johns Hopkins University, a Master of Science from Loyola University and studying at Western Maryland University (now McDaniel College), the University of Michigan and University of New Hampshire.
Professionally, he rose through the ranks in the Baltimore County Public Schools System and served as vice principal at many of the area's high schools, ultimately retiring in 1992 from Pikesville High School.
During summers off in the early '70s, he also worked as a park ranger at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, which dovetailed perfectly with his passion for history and education.
Even in retirement, he had a desire to teach and taught at several local colleges, including Loyola University, Goucher University, Notre Dame University of Maryland and Essex, Catonsville and Dundalk community colleges.
Joe was a faithful member of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Cockeysville, Md., where he volunteered in many capacities, including as a pre-Cana (marriage preparation) advisor and an eucharistic minister.
He loved Notre Dame and Eagles football, a good meal out with friends, sharing stories and making people laugh.
Joe is survived by a sister, Marlene Lavelle and husband, George; a nephew, George Lavelle; two nieces, Catherine L. Kessmeier and husband, Jon, and Beth McFadden, and grand-nephews/nieces, Erik, Kaitlin, and Patrick Kessmeier and Shannon Lavelle.
PURCELL — Joseph (Joe) Edward Purcell, 77, of Cockeysville, Md. A funeral mass will be celebrated at noon Wednesday in St. Joseph's Church, 101 Church Lane, Cockeysville, Md. Interment will be held at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Lemmon Funeral Home of Dulaney Valley, 10 W. Padonia Road (at York Road), Timonium, Md. Expressions of sympathy may be directed Mr. Purcell's name to Viva House, 265 Mount St., Baltimore, Md., 21223. A guest book is available at www.lemmonfuneralhome.com.
Published in The News Item on Nov. 19, 2013