E. Wilson "Bud" PURDY

PURDY, E. Wilson "Bud" 94, passed away Feb. 13, 2014. He was predeceased by his wife of 62 years, Jane W. Purdy. He is survived by daughter Pamela Mesmer Frohock of Seminole; and twins, David Purdy, Washington DC, and Kathleen Markwood, St. Petersburg; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Bud was the youngest of six siblings and grew up in rural Michigan harvesting onions and working in the town's Kroger store to save money for college. He graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor's degree in Police Administration. He later completed his Master's degree in Public Administration from Florida International University. Despite being told he was too short to pursue a career in law enforcement, he went on to become one of the most recognized professionals in the field. His career path was 'fixed' at age 12 when he caught a coal thief stealing from his one-room country school. Bud was a "janitor's helper" and arrived early each morning to stoke the fire. He summoned police, who captured the desperado, and a career was "born." His service spanned over 60 years, and included positions at local, state, and national levels. Following his years as a Military Police Captain in the Philippines during WWII, he was hired by J. Edgar Hoover as an agent with the FBI, where he worked for 12 years. He left the FBI to fill the position of Chief of Police in St. Petersburg. He was proud of his efforts to professionalize the department and initiate long-overdue reforms. The "Purdy" green uniforms and cruisers have endured to this day. He then served as Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner; and ultimately assumed the position of Director of Public Safety in Miami-Dade. He completed his career working as a trial consultant and expert witness, testifying on behalf of police entities all over the US. Aside from all the usual information found in an obituary, Bud would want it known that he was passionate about several things-namely family, career, Rotary, golf, and hiking in the mountains. Every Spring and Fall, he and Jane would spend time in their beloved Smoky Mountains. They hiked every trail in the Tennessee network, chopped wood, and explored Cade's Cove- their favorite pioneer settlement. Summer meant baseball, and every year was a chance for the Cubbies to win the World Seriesor, there was always next year! Additionally, his legacy includes a ready smile, a witty sense of humor, and the ability to put a positive spin on anything. If he couldn't remember a person's name, "Howdy" would suffice and serve to fill any awkward silences. He sought opportunities to help young people who strived to help themselves. He anonymously provided funds for such things as dental work, clothing, and schooling for abandoned teens in his daughter Pam's group home facility (Brookwood). Bud believed there was no such thing as an unsalvageable child. He also insisted you could never have too much education; and that everyday was an opportunity for something positive. He was always available to listen and offer sage advice; encouraged everyone to be all they could be; and reminded each of us of the importance of pride in a life's contribution. People ask what it was like growing up with parents like Bud and Jane...It was like being raised by Ozzie and Harriett! Traditions like family dinners, celebrations of milestones, board game marathons, old westerns, vacations in the mountains, beach days, and drive-in movies live on through the generations. And so does the admiration and gratitude for a life well-lived. A goodbye shared with Jane will occur appropriately at the top of Rich Mountain in Cade's Cove, Tennessee. Please share your thoughts and memories at www.andersonmcqueen.com.

Funeral Home

Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home
2201 Dr. MLK St. North St. Petersburg, FL 33704
(727) 822-2059

Published in the Tampa Bay Times on Feb. 16, 2014