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 www.anthonychapels.com