PURKEY, ESSIE D. LEE Essie Purkey passed away peacefully on September 15th, with her beloved husband Wendell Purkey at her side. She was born May 6, 1918 in Del Rio, Tennessee, one of four children to Lucy and T.D. Lee. Essie moved to San Diego in 1941 to join her late brother Claude and his wife Pauline Lee. In 1945 she began her career with Sears in Hillcrest. She retired in 1980 after 35 happy and successful years. Essie was a very family oriented person that loved to travel. The love of her life was her husband Wendell, whom she married on May 5, 1970 in Carson City, Nevada. He is a retired California Highway Patrolman. Together their love of travel has taken them all over the world including 46 cruises together. Mr. Purkey's daughter Jill Purkey Pigo, wife of Larry Pigo has given her two grand-daughters, Kelly Pigo Stephens, Jennifer Pigo Tipton, and a beautiful great-granddaughter, Jenna Jean Tipton. She also leaves behind her beloved nieces, the daughters of her sister Nell that preceded her in death in 1936, Edith Jones Bradshaw, Ruth Jones Ewalt and Jannell Jones Skeens, all of San Diego, CA . She was also preceded in death by her beloved niece Doris Jones Taylor and her nephew Curt Jones. Our beloved "Aunt Essie" also leaves behind over 40 other nieces and nephews, spanning four generations. She had many loving family and friends that will dearly miss her. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, September 25th at 11:00 a.m. at El Camino Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made in Essie Lee Purkey's name to the California Highway Patrol Widows and Orphans' Fund, 2030 V St., Sacramento, CA 95818.
Published in San Diego Union-Tribune on Sep. 22, 2010.