John Purcell
1943 - 2017
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Purcell, John K.

Pittsford: John K. Purcell died peacefully at his home on April 8, 2017, at the age of 73.

John is preceded in death by his parents, Gerard and Rose (Rafferty) Purcell, and his sister Rosemary. John is survived by his loving wife of 52 years, Kathy, his brother Paul and sister Carol (Jerry) Frantz, his children T.J., Dan (Laura), Kara (Rob) Walsh, and Kevin, and his beloved grandchildren Caity Shea, Jacob, Abby, Emily, Josh, and Allie.

John was born on December 5, 1943 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He was a very proud member of the Class of '65 at LeMoyne College, where he graduated with a degree in Industrial Relations. It was at LeMoyne that John met Kathy, which he often described as the best thing that ever happened to him. John graduated from LeMoyne on a Saturday, and a week later he began his career at Rochester Telephone. Over the next 30 years, John worked in just about every department in the company. In his final position as Vice President, John played a vital role in the Open Market Plan, which marked the first time a U.S. telephone company sought to introduce competition in the local telephone market. Through these efforts, John helped transform Rochester Telephone from a local utility that was heavily regulated to a national local and long distance company that purchased 34 other telephone operations in 15 states.

After leaving the company at age 53, John spent a brief time in retirement but decided it did not suit him (or Kathy) very well. In 2000, he and Frank Chiaino co-founded Fibertech Networks, with John as CEO. Over the course of the next 14 years, John and Frank -- and the entire team at Fibertech -- grew the business from a small construction company to a major player in the fiberoptic network market. For his work at both Rochester Telephone and at Fibertech, John was inducted into the Rochester Business Hall of Fame in 2012.

John had a deep faith that only grew stronger in his later years, and he relied on that faith to get him through good times and bad. He was a long-time member of St. John of Rochester parish. He was also a long-time supporter of his alma mater, and was dedicated to helping future generations have the same opportunity for a high-quality Jesuit education that he did. John volunteered in the admission, alumni and career services offices. In addition, John and Kathy's donations allowed LeMoyne to create the Purcell School of Professional Studies. John and Kathy also established two scholarship programs at LeMoyne, one for students excelling in the business school and one for students from the Rochester City School District. John was deeply honored when he received the Frank Fernandez Business Leader Of The Year from LeMoyne in 2013.

John sat on numerous boards, including Nazareth College, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Memorial Art Gallery, M&T Bank and the Rochester Chamber of Commerce. An admitted golf fanatic, John also was an active member of Monroe Golf Club and served as the Club's President in 2000-01. He liked nothing more than to go out and play nine holes with Kathy on a summer afternoon.

Calling hours will be held on Tuesday, April 11th from 4:00 to 7:00 PM at Anthony Funeral Home at 2305 Monroe Avenue. A Funeral Mass is scheduled for Wednesday, April 12th at 11:30 AM at St. John of Rochester, 8 Wickford Way in Fairport, where Father Peter Clifford will celebrate John's return to God. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Wilmot Cancer Institute at 601 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester, NY 14642. The family would like to thank all of the incredible doctors and staff at the Wilmot Cancer Institute, Highland Hospital, and The Highlands at Pittsford, and his incredible aide Deanna for their dedication and compassion. To share a memory of John, or to leave a condolence visit

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Rochester Democrat And Chronicle on Apr. 11, 2017.
Calling hours
04:00 - 07:00 PM
Funeral Mass
11:30 AM
Memories & Condolences
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34 entries
April 23, 2017
Kathy, John's classmates from St. John the Evangelist HS are very sorry for your loss. John was such a big part of our soul and was cherished by all of the Class of '61. John's (and your) generosity goes back more than 55 years to his thoughtfulness and concern for others. This was large measure of why we loved John and will miss him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.
SJCA Class of 61
April 18, 2017
Our prayers are with you and for your husband. We are so sorry for your loss.
Clyde and Gerri Frantz
April 17, 2017
Please accept our deepest sympathy. the passing of a loved one is always difficult. be assured that you and family are in our prayers.
Howard Taylor, Class of 1965
Loudonville, NY 12211
April 16, 2017
Dear Kathy and the Purcell Family:

My sympathy to you at this difficult time of loss in your family.
John and I were friends and debate partners at St. John's Academy in Syracuse. We both went on to Le Moyne College in Syracuse. Our paths never crossed again in life but even in those early years is was easy to see that John was a special person and destined for success. More than that, he was always a caring, generous person, thinking of others. From the many tributes to John that was the way he lived his life. In knowing John we all gained and were touched by his kindness and his loss is felt by all who knew him. He will be missed.

Bob Young
St. John's Academy '61
Le Moyne College '65
April 14, 2017
Dear Kathy and family,

Please accept my deepest sympathy. John was a classmate of mine in high school and college. He was always a kind, caring person. He has left the world a much better place by his presence in it. May you experience his love every day in memories and prayers.

Kathy Blanchard, SJCA '61 and LeMoyne '65
Kathy HanlonBlanchard
April 14, 2017
Dear Kathy & Family,
John was an amazing man and a brilliant person. I always had the utmost respect for him when we worked together at Rochester Telephone. We made a lot of good memories that are with me today.
Sending healing love for your broken heart; just know the choir of angels have come to greet John and taken him to paradise.
Margaret & Ron DeBellis
Margaret & Ron DeBellis
April 12, 2017
Kathy and family,

Like many others, John was the key to launching my professional career at Rochester Telephone. As an upstart woman, he embraced my skills and honed them. I feel his guidance even today.

Sending much love and support .
Jane plitt
April 12, 2017
So sorry to hear of John's passing. John was a classmate and friend. Sincere sympathy to the Purcell family.

Jim McLean 65
Wilmington, DE
April 11, 2017
Mary was the Nanny to our Son James from birth until the age of 3. I don't know what we would done without her. She will be remembered fondly and greatly missed .

Patty, Phil and James Robinson
Patricia Robinson
April 11, 2017
So, sorry for your loss, my prayers are with you all in this time of loss. Mr. Purcell was an extremely kind man, meeting him explained Dan's kindness and good heart. I know he will be deeply missed. But he will smile down on his family and loved ones every day in peace knowing they can feel his love.
Bobbie and Marco Merida
April 11, 2017
Our deepest sympathies to John's family. In each other may you find comfort, strength and joy in remembrance of a great caring person.
Gerry & Margy Brophy
April 11, 2017
So very sorry for your loss. Sending many prayers
to you all.
With my sincere sympathy.
Sharon Hockwater
April 11, 2017
Lee & Elena Hilts
April 11, 2017
Lee & Elena Hilts
April 10, 2017
JAKE & JOSH .. God Bless! You both, and the entire family. Praying for strength and peace.
- Mr. Brady
April 10, 2017
I worked with John on the Open Market Plan on behalf of 1170 CWA, and I had great respect for him. Even though we were on opposite sides he treated us Union Officers as his equals. My condolences to his family and RIP John.
Linda McGrath
April 10, 2017
Sorry to learn of Johns passing. He was my boss at Rotelcom before I left for Atlanta joining Contel Corp. Rest in peace my man! Walt. Hobbs
Walt Hobbs
April 10, 2017
I was lucky enough to work with John for over 7 years at Fibertech. John was not only an amazing leader, he also excelled at making
you feel like part of the team. He made you want to work harder in order to be a part of something he and Frank truly believed in.
He treated people the way you should and it came back to him tenfold. I miss him dropping by my cube just to say Hi or to see how my day was going. How many CEO's do that? John did.
He knew your name and knew about your family and took the time to show he cared. He could not pick the right football team to
win the superbowl and hated Brady, but something's can be overlooked.
My thoughts are with his family in this difficult time. Just know how much he was loved here at Fibertech and how much we miss him!
Andrea Pettinato
April 10, 2017
John was one of my first mentors at Rochester Telephone...what he taught me and, so many others, was to always put people first.
Lynn Hartrick
April 10, 2017
So sorry to hear about the passing of John. I will always remember him as a lovely man, friendly and considerate. Condolences to the family.
Cyril Meyerowitz.
April 10, 2017
Kathy, our prayers and thoughts are with you. John was a one of a kind guy and will be missed.
Love, Bob and Mary Curran
April 10, 2017
Oh Kathy, our thoughts and prayers go out to you and the family. Heaven has received another good one....John is resting in perfect peace with the Lord Almighty. May God comfort and strengthen you at this time.

With much love,
Comfort and family
April 10, 2017
A great man that helped start a great company in Rochester.
Steve Dudek
April 10, 2017
My thoughts and prayers are with you, Kathy and your family
Linda Matons
April 9, 2017
May God Bless you.
April 9, 2017
It was truly a pleasure and an honor to have worked with such a great gentleman and leader.

Condolences to the family,
Tammy Parker Piotter
April 9, 2017
Prayers and thoughts.
Kelley and Linda Yost
April 9, 2017
Our prayers and sympathy for you, Kathy, and your family.
Karen & Mike Weins
April 9, 2017
I really enjoyed working with John at RTC. He was such a personable guy. Our sport chats in his office were always interesting....
My deepest sympathies to the whole family....
He will be missed
Gregg Wergin
April 9, 2017
I really enjoyed working with John at RTC. He was such a personable guy. Our sport chats in his office were always interesting....
My deepest sympathies to the whole family....
He will be missed
Gregg Wergin
April 9, 2017
John Purcell was one of a kind ! He was a gentle giant, John carried himself very professional and strict at times, but also was very kind and down to earth and very personal.
Frank picked the right person to run his business ! John was always the same person when we were doing great and when we had some rocky times. His composure was admirable ! One of a kind for sure, Great choice Frank !
We all learned how to be a better person by just knowing John. He will be terribly missed, yet in our hearts and souls forever.
My condolences to John's family and everyone close to him. My thoughts and prayers are with you all !
Scott Campbell
April 9, 2017
"Take care of your employees, your employees will take care of your customers, and everything else will take care of itself." John was a legend. It was an honor to work for him and he will be sorely missed.
Kyle R
April 9, 2017
Our sincere condolences to you on the loss of John. He was an amazing man that Maureen and I admired greatly and remember with admiration and respect. I can never thank him enough for the impact he and Fibertech had on the Pellegrini family to improve our lives and affect our future generations. When you and John came to our Holiday parties in Ct. it always made them special and even more fun. May God bless you and give you strength through the upcoming days. If we can ever do anything for you do not hesitate to ask.

Thanks again to you and your wonderful husband,

Jim and Maureen Pellegrini
Jim and Maureen Pellegrini
April 9, 2017
Join was the best Boss I ever had. Always had nothing but positive things to say. He made my 12 years at Fibertech the best 12 years of my working like. I will truly miss him! Warmest regards Bill Conron CT/Fibertech /Sales
Bill Conron
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