Purvis, Thomas Hyden
June 18, 1947 - March 27, 2021
Thomas Hyden Purvis, 73, peacefully left his life's work on March 27, 2021 at the home he built for his family. Tommy was a distinguished mechanic and craftsman who believed in the power of a job well done in friendship and love.
Born to George and Mary Sue Purvis on June 18, 1947, he grew into a freckled-faced, blue-eyed boy who would walk the railroad tracks in Shipman, Virginia, to purchase a loaf of bread for his family. Tommy's genius for mechanics and construction was evident by the time he became a young man living in Bethania, NC. He divided his days between high school and work to provide a car and additional income for his mother and siblings, graduating from North Forsyth High School while working at a local car repair shop. The Army's First Armored Division recognized his innate abilities while he served as an Engineer during the Vietnam War. Under enemy fire and with disregard for his personal safety, Tommy prevented an assault by removing an abandoned truck from a convoy's path at a bridge crossing, earning a Bronze Star and a Bronze Service Medal for his life-saving actions.
Tommy returned home and met his future wife, Constance, on a blind date in a rag-top Karmann Ghia, which was the beginning of their love story. They married three years later, and, from their love, Laura, their daughter, was born. He was the embodiment of a dedicated husband and father whose few words often spoke volumes and whose actions were the foundation of a kind and humble life.
From fixing equipment to building a hand-crafted table, he wanted to make the world a happier, safer place for people through his skilled hands. Tommy worked for 40 years at R. E. Lee & Son in Charlottesville, VVirginia, beginning as a crane mechanic and steadily advancing to President of the company's subsidiary, Piedmont Tool Repair, Inc. Organizations and individuals sought his encyclopedic knowledge, alongside his friend and co-worker, Rick Matheny, on projects ranging from complex institutional construction to NASA-funded weather balloons. The saying often went, "If Tom Purvis can't fix it, then you might as well throw it away."
Tommy had a ready laugh, welcoming smile, and the smell of roasting garlic sent him fleeing from the house to his favorite pastimes, fishing and tinkering. He felt that you should always take the time to greet those around you and that being busy was never an excuse for not listening to others.
He is survived by wife, Constance "Connie" Fields Purvis; daughter, Laura Purvis, and her husband, Brett; sister, Rinnie Purvis and her husband, Phillip; aunt, Lois Bryant; and a treasured extended family including a dedicated circle of friends. He was preceded in death by mother, Mary Sue Purvis; father, George "Buck" Purvis; brother, Frankie Purvis; and uncle, Robert "Bobby" Bryant.
A graveside service will be held at Beech Grove Cemetery on Cub Creek Road on April 3, 2021 at 2:00pm. In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to the Thomas H. Purvis Legacy Fund providing scholarships and essential equipment funding for vocational students. Checks may be written to the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation (CACF), P. O. Box 1767, Charlottesville, VA 22901 with the name of the fund in the memo line, or contributions may be made online via the CACF website.
Direct Giving Linkhttps://cacf.iphiview.com/cacf/GivingOpportunities/OnlineContribution/tabid/512/dispatch/contribution_id$154357_hash$2ae63b5404854205e33884901ad6b8e1bd3f203b/Default.aspx
All Covid-19 precautions will be adhered to and masks will be required.
Arrangements by Wells/Sheffield Funeral Chapel, Lovingston, Va., (434-263-4097).
Wells/Sheffield Funeral Chapel
828 Front Street, Lovingston, Virginia 22949
Published by Winston-Salem Journal on Apr. 1, 2021.