Thomas Hyden Purvis
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.

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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
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Published by Winston-Salem Journal on Apr. 1, 2021.
Graveside service
Beech Grove Cemetery
Cub Creek Road
Funeral services provided by:
Wells/Sheffield Funeral Chapel
Sponsored by Wells/Sheffield Funeral Chapel.
Add a Message
14 Entries
Dear Connie and Laura, we´re so sorry for your loss. Tom was a great man and wonderful neighbor. May his memory be a blessing. Noemia and John
Noemia and John Pina
April 12, 2021
Dear Connie and Laura, I was so sad to read of Tom´s passing. Although we only had that brief time working together on the Car Show to benefit the WAHS Band, it was evident that Tom was a man of integrity and love for his family. His military service is greatly appreciated! My deepest sympathy to both of you! Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers as you grieve his loss!
Patricia Crawford
April 7, 2021
Earning the Bronze Star medal for his heroic actions, while serving in Vietnam, speaks volumes about his character and bravery in the face of danger. Mr. Purvis will forever be established as "a man above all average men"---respectfully submitted by an unknown retired veteran.
Frank Campbell
April 4, 2021
Earning the Bronze Star medal, for his heroic actions in Vietnam, speaks volumes about this man's character and bravery in the face of danger and will forever distinguish Mr. Purvis as "a man above all average men" ---respectfully submitted by an unknown retired veteran.
Frank Campbell
April 4, 2021
Connie and Laura so sorry for your loss of Tommy your love and a special person. I always enjoyed his visits when Dan and I were at Melba's. Yes he always had a great smile and I am sure when he met Dan up in heaven it was a happy time again. You are in my prayers.
Margie Fields
April 3, 2021
a very lovely tribute;full of good.
sharon cooke
April 2, 2021
Connie and Laura, I am so sorry to hear of Tommy's passing. I worked with him over 20 years at R. E. Lee. He was the best! He was always there for us when we needed him. He reminded me so much of my Dad. Sending you heartfelt condolences. May God comfort you during this difficult time.
Stacy Buck Casaday
April 2, 2021
My sincere condolences go out the Connie and Laura, blessings of our Lord Jesus Christ comfort you and family during this time . Will miss you Tommy until we meet again
Lew Brown
April 1, 2021
So sorry to hear of the death of Tommy. I would see him in Crozet Baptist church and around the town of Crozet and we would laugh about we left Shipman to meet in Crozet. Always had a smile on his face.
Mary Lou Wooten Fitzgerald
April 1, 2021
I went to school with Tommy and he was always cutting up and making us laugh. When I went to get gas at Ed Wolff's gas station he always had a smile on his face. I am so sorry that he has passed, I hope his wife and daughter remember him well. He was a gentleman.
Betty Fulk Henning
April 1, 2021
Thank you for your service Sir. You were a true hero...Our great country salutes you.
Betty Ramsey
April 1, 2021
Tommy was a great friend And neighbor of the family and a great man to every one he met .
Simpson Family
March 31, 2021
The R. E. Lee Companies Family
March 30, 2021
Tom was a very kind & giving person. I never knew a better fellow than he was.
Charles J (Joey) O’Brien
March 30, 2021