Edwin Lane Purcell

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CLINTON — Edwin Lane Purcell, 86, died Friday, June 20, 2014 at home, surrounded by his family.

"Ed," as he was best known by his friends and colleagues, was born in Laurinburg on May 19, 1928, the fourth of five children of Christian parents, Charles Augustus Purcell and Anna Meta Buchanan Purcell. He grew up working on his family's farm. He graduated from Laurinburg High School, where he played end on two state championship football teams in 1943 and 1944. He also played first base for the Laurinburg High baseball team. He was a Boy Scout in the Laurinburg Presbyterian Church Troop.

Ed attended N.C. State University for one year before joining the U. S. Marine Corps near the end of World War II. He served as a military police security guard at Marine Corps headquarters in Washington, D. C. He established life long friendships with many of his Marine buddies, and was one of his platoon and his battalion reunion coordinators. He only missed one of a great number of reunions when he was sick with pneumonia.

After serving in the Marines, Ed attended Presbyterian Junior College in Maxton for one year, where he was a member of the football team. Ed then re-entered N.C. State where he was a dormitory athletic director and played intramural football and baseball. Ed graduated from N.C. State in 1953 with a bachelor of science degree in animal industry, specializing in beef cattle and swine husbandry.

Ed married Mary Lucille McKenzie, "Tink" as she is better known, of Laurinburg in 1953 and his true life really began then. He and Tink raised three wonderful, intelligent children: Bobby (Lori), Mac (Dale), and Mary Lynn (Dereck Roberts) and six beautiful grandchildren: John and Paige Purcell, Wes and Alex Purcell, and Will and Ben Roberts. All of them have attained much success in their endeavors in life. The great love of Ed's life was attending sports events with his family and friends and seeing his children and grandchildren progress in sports, school, careers, and their faith.

Ed's professional career began as a territory sales manager for Nutrena Feeds, a division of Cargill, Inc. He was transferred to Clinton early in his career. Ed was a career leader with Cargill in sales management, achieving membership in Cargill's President's Club several times. Later in his career he worked for P. I. C. and then Service Oil Company. Ed and Tink set out in life to work hard, raise a Christian family, and to travel together. They traveled together in all 50 states, three continents, and 30 or more countries, islands, and territories.

Ed was a life long active member of the N.C. State Wolfpack Club. He was an original donor to Carter Stadium and served for many years as a Wolfpack Club Representative in Sampson County. He also was a member of the N.C. State Alumni Association and enjoyed being part of the regional Park Scholarship interview team. He was proud to be in attendance at Wolfpack athletic events and other State functions.

Ed was continuously active in Graves Memorial Presbyterian Church. He was a Sunday School teacher, Sunday School superintendent, a deacon, and an elder. His faith and his church were very important to him. Ed was also very active in his community. He was a member of the Jaycees and Rotary. He was President of the Clinton High School Athletic Booster Club and President of the Clinton High School Band Boosters. He coached little league sports teams and church league teams. He was a Scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts.

Ed served on many boards over his career, including the Sampson County Sports Club, the Sampson County Sports Hall of Fame, and local boards of BB&T, East Coast Federal Savings, and Southern National Bank. He was a member of the Laurinburg All America City campaign team early in his career.

Ed was preceded in death by his parents Gus and Anna Meta Purcell, his two oldest brothers; Archie and Gus, and dear aunt Agnes Lynn Buchanan. He is survived by his wife of 60 years Tink, sons Bobby and wife Lori of Cary and Mac and wife Dale of Clinton, and daughter Mary Lynn Roberts and husband Dereck of Wilmington and his six grandchildren; John and Paige Purcell of Cary, Wes and Alex Purcell of Clinton, and Will and Ben Roberts of Wilmington. He is also survived by his sister Elizabeth Newton of Alpharetta, Ga., his brother Dr. Bill Purcell and wife Kathleen of Laurinburg, and sisters-in-law Joyce Purcell (Archie) of Kernersville and Bonnie Purcell (Gus) of Laurinburg. He had numerous nieces and nephews, who affectionately called him "Uncle Boggie."

The family would like to thank Senior Helpers and Liberty Hospice for their wonderful care during the period of Ed's declining health. Memorial gifts may be made to the Graves Memorial Presbyterian Church Building Fund, 201 Fayetteville Street, Clinton, NC 28328 or the Wolfpack Club Endowment, P. O. Box 37100, Raleigh, NC 27627.

The family will receive friends on Tuesday from 5:30-8 p.m. at Crumpler-Honeycutt Funeral Home in Clinton. Funeral services will be conducted on Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Graves Memorial Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Dr. James A. Moran officiating. Burial with military honors will follow in the city cemetery, Springvale, in Clinton.

Arrangements are by Crumpler-Honeycutt Funeral Home, 118 Fayetteville Street, Clinton, NC 28328. Online condolences can be sent to the family at

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Crumpler-Honeycutt Funeral Home
118 Fayetteville Street
Clinton, NC 28328
(910) 592-2066
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Published in Laurinburg Exchange from June 23 to June 24, 2014
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