WILLIAM C. PURPLE Jr.

Death Notice
  • "Hi Andi, I'm so sorry to hear of Mr. Purple's passing. He..."
    - Pam Arnold
  • "Andi, My sincere condolences. Thanks to you and Mr. Purple..."
    - Wilda Dear
  • "Andi - I was so sorry to hear about Bill's passing. I had..."
    - Debbie Pederson (Gould)
  • "There are so many good memories from my years working at..."
    - jo summitt
  • "There are only a handfull of people who we can say..."
    - Brent Miller


PURPLE WILLIAM C. PURPLE, JR. "Bill" Of Hilton Head Island, SC, formerly of Arlington, VA, passed away on December 25, 2012 in Orlando, FL while visiting family. Bill was born on Parris Island, SC; attended a year at The Citadel then joined the US Marine Corps in June 1944; in November, he was admitted to Princeton University as a member of the V-12 program, and graduated in 1947 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Determined not to leave Princeton without meeting famed scientist Dr. Einstein, Bill approached him as he sat on his front porch and asked if he could talk to him. He nodded agreement and they met weekly with Bill asking scientific and/or world event questions, sometimes receiving just a terse yes or no answer. Prior to his retirement in 1988, he served as Executive Vice President of Allied-Signal, Inc. and as President of the Bendix Aerospace Sector, with responsibility for overall operations of 20 diverse high-technology divisions developing and producing electronic and mechanical products and subsystems, covering two thirds for defense applications and one third for commercial applications. Previously, Bill was Executive Vice President of the Bendix Corporation and President of its Aerospace-Electronics Group; a member of the Board of Directors of Bendix Corporation from 1975 to 1983; and was honored as Bendix "Man of the Year" three times. Prior to joining Bendix, he was Assistant to the President of Fairchild Industries, Inc.; prior to that was Vice President and General Manager of Melpar, Inc., where he held various engineering and executive positions from 1947 to 1966. During his first eight years, he developed various defense com- munications equipment involving time-division and frequency-division multiplex and crypto systems for fax and teletype transmissions, both as an engineer and as Chief Engineer. Bill then became Vice President of production for another eight years, with responsibility for production of Minuteman Guidance Systems, analog and digital Flight Simulators, Electronic Warfare Systems, and the Communication Systems that he had developed as an engineer; he then became Vice President and General Manager for all Melpar operations. He served as Chairman of Aerospace Industries Association's (AIA) Board of Directors; was a member of the Board of Directors for the American Defense Preparedness Association, and a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. On retiring from Allied-Signal, he entered into partnership with George Mason University to form the Institute for Education Transformation (IET) and served as its first Chairman; helped develop an MBA Mentor Program for the University; co-published a technology newsletter Washington Technology and a life-styles magazine Fairfax. Bill was a member of Army Navy Country Club, Arlington, VA and Wexford Plantation, Hilton Head Island, SC. He was preceded in death by his parents, William C. and Henrietta Purple and two children, Anne and Robert. His first marriage to Mary Frances Trent ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife of 28 years, Andrea "Andi" O'Neal Purple; daughter, Mary Botos and husband, Paul; son, William C. Purple, III and wife, Judy; son, John Purple; daughter, Elizabeth Delmonte and husband, Greg; daughter, Catherine Purple Cherry and husband, Michael; daughter, Barbara Purple Hickey; and step-son Patrick O'Neal; 13 grandchildren,14 great-grandchildren and brother, Robert A. Purple and wife, Betty. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, December 30, 4 p.m. at Wexford Plantation Clubhouse, Hilton Head Island, SC; private interment will be at a later date at historic Six Oaks Cemetery, Hilton Head Island, SC. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to ARCS Foundation, Inc. (National), First Foundation Advisors, Attn: Cathy Fair, 301 North Lake Ave., Suite 100, Pasadena, CA 91101; ARCS Foundation, Inc. (Metro Washington Chapter), c/o Karen Stoner, 4643 MacArthur Blvd., N.W., Washington, DC or Wexford Plantation Charitable Foundation (WPCF), P.O. Box 4100, Hilton Head Island, SC 29938.In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to ARCS Foundation, Inc. (National), First Foundation Advisors, Attn: Cathy Fair, 301 North Lake Ave., Suite 100, Pasadena, CA 91101; ARCS Foundation, Inc. (Metro Washington Chapter), c/o Karen Stoner, 4643 MacArthur Blvd., N.W., Washington, DC or Wexford Plantation Charitable Foundation (WPCF), P.O. Box 4100, Hilton Head Island, SC 29938.

Published in The Washington Post on Dec. 30, 2012
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