Carol Ruth Purdy

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June 9, 1928 ~ June 27, 2018

On June 27, 2018, Carol Havighurst Purdy passed away peacefully in Vancouver, WA with her daughter by her side. She was under hospice care and succumbed to complications of C.O.P.D.
Carol lived a long, full life. She was born June 9, 1928, in Fuzhou, China to educational missionaries, Ruth and Freeman Havighurst, the youngest of three. They returned to the U.S. in 1932, when her father became a Methodist minister assigned to the Kansas City, MO District. She grew up in Kansas City and various smaller towns in Northern Missouri.
Carol attended Baker University, and graduate school at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX. There she earned a master's degree in Clinical Psychology and met her future husband, Ben Purdy.
On June 29, 1952, they married in Moberly, MO, then lived in Texas City where Carol taught elementary school. In 1956 Ben's work took them to Venezuela where both of their sons were born. In 1962 the family moved to Austin, TX where their daughter was born. Once the children were of school age, Carol resumed her teaching career at John B. Winn Elementary School from 1974-89 where she instilled kindness and a passion for learning in her teaching. She was greatly loved and respected by many students, their families, and fellow teachers.
After retiring in 1989, Carol & Ben became avid travelers. Their love of travel brought them to all seven continents. With Ben's passing in 2004, she moved to Vancouver, WA to be with her daughter. Carol enjoyed going to the YMCA senior exercise class as well as activities at her church. She especially loved volunteering in her daughter's 2nd grade classroom.
Throughout her life, she was a voracious reader with newspapers, magazines and word puzzles a daily part of her life. She never met an animal or plant she didn't love. Local birds, squirrels, raccoons and stray cats could count on food aplenty wherever she lived. Everything she planted flourished under her care.
Carol was a loving mother, a proud grandmother, a caring teacher and a compassionate friend who touched the lives of so many during her 90 years. Her warm, empathetic nature made people feel loved and accepted. Her priceless legacy was the unconditional love and support she bestowed on her children. Her love and caring nature will carry us throughout our lives.
Carol is survived by her three children and three grandchildren: her eldest son, Robert Benjamin and wife Cathy of Austin, TX, their children Sara Beth and John Thomas; her second son, Eugene Freeman and wife Sheila of Santa Anna, TX, their daughter Lindsay Gillen; and her only daughter, Laura Anne of Vancouver, WA.
A memorial service and celebration of Carol's life will be held on August 1st at 3 p.m. at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Vancouver at 4505 E 18th St. Memorial contributions can be made to Macular Degeneration Research at or The Nature Conservancy at
Please sign Carol's Guest Book at
Published in The Columbian on July 29, 2018
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