Stonington - Judge Joseph James Purtill of Pawcatuck, died peacefully on Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at Apple Rehabilitation Mystic.
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He is predeceased by his beloved wife of fifty years, Katherine (Donovan) Purtill. Joe was born in Westerly, the son of the late Joseph and Marion Purtill.
In addition, Joe is survived by his son, Joseph J. and his wife, Susan, and grandson, Ryan Mead of Waterford, daughter, Jane Purtill, Mark Furst, of Mansfield, Mass., MaryAnne Purtill of Thornton, N.H. and his much loved son, John D. Purtill of Pawcatuck.
Joe attended local schools and graduated from Stonington High School in 1945. He graduate from St. Michael's College in 1950 and obtained his law degree from the University of Connecticut in 1953. Joe proudly served in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. He was honorably discharged with the rank of colonel from the Marine Corps Reserve. In addition to his military service, Joe served in the Connecticut State Legislature from 1959 - 1961. He was also the Stonington Town Clerk from 1963 - 1979. Joe started his own law practice in 1958. He continued in his private practice until he was appointed to the Superior Court of Connecticut bench on July 5, 1979.
Joe was a member of the Friendly Son's of St. Patrick and commander of Eastland Post 152. His love of Bonsai brought him to become a member of the China Trade Bonsai Society. He spent countless hours taking care of his Bonsai plants regardless of the season. Joe loved to play golf and could also be seen playing at Elmridge Golf Course. Joe loved history, especially the Civil War period and local history.
The family would like to thank Kathleen Santacroce for her support during his brief illness.
Visiting hours will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 27, at Gaffney-Dolan Funeral Home, 59 Spruce St., Westerly. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday, at St. Mary Church, 95 Main St., Stonington. There is no procession from the funeral home to the church. Burial with full military honors will be at St. Michael Cemetery in Pawcatuck.
In lieu of flowers, the family would like donations in Joe's memory to go to St. Michael Church, 60 Liberty St., Pawcatuck and St. Michael's College, 1 Winooski Park, Colchester, VT 05439.
For online condolences, please visit www.gaffneydolanfuneralhome.com.
Gaffney-Dolan Funeral Home
59 Spruce St. Westerly, RI 02891
Published in The Day on Mar. 27, 2014