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Ann S. Jennings Purnell


1938 - 2019 Obituary Condolences
Ann S. Jennings Purnell Obituary
Ann S. Jennings Purnell

Mamaroneck - Ann S. Jennings Purnell, B.A., M.PH., M.D., passed away peacefully on Saturday evening, March 9th. She was a long time resident of Mamaroneck, NY, having lived there since 1971. Her husband George Irvin Purnell predeceased her in 1998.

She was born Ann Elizabeth Smith on August 11, 1938 in Yemasee, South Carolina. From a young age, her siblings recall her declaring that she would be a doctor someday. Ann received a scholarship to the Mather School in Beaufort, South Carolina, which was a private boarding school founded by Rachel Crane Mather in 1867 to educate newly-freed female African-Americans. Ann graduated the Mather High School in 1954, at the age of 16.

Ann enrolled in Temple University in 1957, but was forced to drop out in 1959 to give birth to the first of her four sons: William, Daniel, Albert and Eric. Ann decided to go back to school at the age of 34, despite having four sons and being on public assistance. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1975. She then enrolled in Rutgers University Medical School, where she performed exceptionally well and was able to transfer to New York University Medical School where she graduated in 1979. She obtained her Masters of Public Health from Columbia University in 1995.

Dr. Purnell worked at Harlem Hospital for 25 years. She rose through the ranks to become its Chief of Emergency Medicine. She also served as Clinical Professor of Medicine for Columbia University Valegos College of Physicians and Surgeons. She was also a principal instructor in the Physicians Assistants Program at the City College of New York.

Ann was a long time member of the Barry Ave AME Zion Church in Mamaroneck and later at Greater Centennial AME Zion Church in Mount Vernon, where she served as a steward, until her health failed and she could no longer attend.

Ann was an exceptionally beautiful woman, she loved to dance, played guitar to accompany her pretty soprano voice and had a talent for painting.

Ann is survived by her four sons: William (Celeste), Daniel (Susan), Albert and Eric (Marisa) and her "fifth son", nephew Jason Smith; five granddaughters: Akailah, Alexis, Ruby, Eliza and Alana; siblings Joseph, Edna and Benjamin, and a host of nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews and cousins and many dear friends, who will cherish and honor her legacy.

The wake will take place at Mamaroneck United Methodist Church at 546 East Boston Post Rd. on Friday, March 22nd from 7pm- 9pm. Funeral services will also be held at the Mamaroneck United Methodist Church on Saturday, March 23rd at 9am, followed by internment at Greenwood Union Cemetery in Rye, NY.
Published in the The Journal News on Mar. 21, 2019
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