Dr. Julia Brogdon Purnell, a native of Belton, South Carolina and long-time resident of Baton Rouge, entered Eternal Rest on Monday, October 21, 2013, at the age of 97 years. One of three daughters, Dr. Purnell was born to the Reverend and Mrs. Richard E. Brogdon. A retired educator, Dr. Purnell earned an undergraduate degree from Allen University, Columbia, South Carolina, the Master's Degree from Atlanta University and pursued further study at Louisiana State University, Syracuse University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana. She received nine honorary doctorate degrees and several professional citations. Her students hailed her legacy as a professor of Education at Southern University. A champion of civil rights and human rights, Dr. Purnell was known for her vibrancy, innovative ideas and leadership skills. She served as Sixteenth International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (1962-1966) and Seventh International President of The Links, Incorporated (1978-1982), two premier women's organizations. A devoted Christian, Dr. Purnell was an active member of Bethel A.ME. Church. She shared her many talents there. With her sister, she was the co-founder and director of the Bethel A. M. E. Scott-Gilchrist Quality of Life Center, which provided meals, clothing and counseling for the indigent. Dr. Purnell was preceded in death by her parents, two younger sisters, husband, son and daughter-in-law. She is survived by cousins Andrew Henry (Detroit, MI), Barbara Roberts Mason & Family, Laurin' (Michael) Thomas, Bella and Mikey Thomas (Dimondale, MI), Gloria Saulsberry & Family Hiliary Waddles, Alvin (Lori) Waddles & Family (Detroit, MI); the Hildebrand Family (Florida); the Blackwell Family (Baton Rouge, LA); granddaughter, Ann Elizabeth Purnell (Juan) Medrano, great-granddaughter Sofia Medrano (Cypress, TX); grandson, Stephen (Angelia) Purnell, great-grandchildren Blake Clifton and Lauren Elizabeth Purnell, (Boynton Beach, FL); and granddaughter, Rasheeda Garner (Los Angeles, CA); as well as a host of other relatives and friends. To celebrate the life of "the ultimate humanitarian," a viewing has been set for Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 at 1605 Harding Blvd. Gamma Eta Omega Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority House. On Saturday, November 2, 2013, rituals begin at 9:00 a.m. by The Links & Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. The rituals will be followed by a memorial service at 11:00 a.m. at the F.G. Clark Activity Center, Southern University. Arrangements are entrusted to the Capital Funeral Home. The entombment will take place at Hillcrest Memorial Garden and Mausoleum, Baker, L.A.
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Published in TheAdvocate.com from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, 2013