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PURDUM, Robert L. Remembered fondly as Bob, passed peacefully on November 28, 2018 with his wife and three sons at his side. Bob was one of 26 students graduating from a small Versailles, Indiana High School in 1952. He went on to Purdue University earning a degree in Civil Engineering. While waiting for acceptance into the Naval Officers' Candidate School, (OCS) Newport Rhode Island, he worked as an engineer for the Indiana Toll Road Commission. After graduating from OCS, he was assigned to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center as assistant to the Special Works Officer. It was here he met his wife, Arlene, a civilian nurse working in a research study for the Public Health Department (CDC). Over the next six years of active duty he served in Kodiak, Alaska, Quantico, Virginia, the Washington Bureau of Yards and Docks and the Pentagon where he was assigned to President John Kennedy. He served in the Navy Reserve until 1990, retiring as a Captain. Bob began his Armco career in 1962 as a sales engineer for the Indianapolis district, advancing to District Engineer and in 1972 to District Engineer of the Columbus Ohio District. He moved quickly through other divisions of Armco. His successive achievements were recognized and he moved to the corporate office in 1980, gaining knowledge in every facet of the company. It was during this time he was awarded a Distinguished Alumnus of Purdue Schools of Engineering. From 1990 to 1996, Mr. Purdum was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Armco, Inc., the 5th largest steel producer, in the U.S., employing 44,000. He loved the Armco Spirit. He loved the Armco employees, and they loved him. In 1996 he became a director and partner of American Industrial Partners, a private equity firm, the controlling stockholder of Bucyrus International, where he held the position of non-executive Chairman of the Board from 1997-2004. Mr. Purdum has served on several boards including Berlitz International, Sheffield Steel, |Commerce Bank of Kansas City, Holophane Corporation, |Columbus, Ohio, First Financial Bank Corporation of |Hamilton, Ohio, Board of Trustees of Kettering University, Flint, Michigan (formerly GMI Engineering & Management |Institute), is a life time member of the CEC / SEABEE Historical Foundation, and served on the Advisory Board of the Purdue University School of Civil Engineering. He is a member of the Bradenton Country Club and Wildcat Cliffs CC Highlands, NC. Bob is survived by his wife Arlene; three sons, Mike (Tara), granddaughters, Abigail, Annie, Allison and Amelia; Steve, grandsons, Gus and Cole, and Eric, grandson, Will; one brother, John Purdum (Mary Jo) and his beloved Golden Retriever, Murphy. His stories, his smile, his singing, his quick wit and even his golf leave us with wonderful memories. He will be greatly missed. "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." Theodore Roosevelt A Celebration of Life for family and friends will be held in January. Brown & Sons Funeral Homes & Crematory 43rd Street Chapel is in charge of the arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the CEC/Seabee Historical Foundation, or Tidewell Hospice of Bradenton. Condolences may be made to www.brownandsonsfuneral.com
Published in Journal-News on Dec. 7, 2018
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