Date of death: 1/24/2022
Saint Meinrad Class: O 1969
John Anthony Purdie passed away peacefully in his sleep on Monday, January 24th, after a swift decline at the end of a 17 year battle with brain cancer. John was many things to many people: he was a trusted advisor, an enthusiastic volunteer, a loving father, and a devoted husband.
John was born in Newburgh, Indiana, on January 7th, 1943, to the late Henry Edwin and Margaret (Emig) Purdie. He was predeceased by his only sibling, Margaret, in 2020. John was a proud product of Catholic schools, attending St John’s School in Newburgh, St Meinrad Seminary (high school), and Memorial High School in Evansville, and the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, where he obtained a B.S. in Mathematics, followed by an MS in Industrial Administration from Purdue University.
John met his wife Pamela (McReynolds) through mutual friends in college, and they were married in 1966 at Holy Name Church in Evansville. His college career having been enabled by his participation in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corp, he entered active duty after graduation, and ultimately was stationed with Pam in Blankenheim, Germany, where he served with honor. Upon discharge, he took a position with Arthur Andersen in Chicago, where his oldest daughter was born. In 1972, he moved his young family to Indianapolis to take a position with American Fletcher Leasing Corporation, a subsidiary of the bank of the same name, and despite opportunities to move elsewhere called Indianapolis home. In 1983, he left American Fletcher to join the Regency Windsor Companies, where he served as President for the rest of his professional life.
For most of his adult life, John and Pam lived in a house on Windcombe Blvd, where they raised their family. They were members of St Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church. John and Pam had four children, and he was an involved father, coaching sports at First Baptist Athletics and St Luke Catholic School and rarely missing a competition or a performance. He was proud to have raised independent children who enjoyed his company.
John was committed to his community. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Finance Executives International, and Legatus. He chaired the finance committee at St Luke Catholic Church and served on the Lay Board at Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove. He was a Trustee of Marian University.
John enjoyed throwing himself into a wide variety of sporting endeavors…He was a skilled bowler, a karate black belt, an avid player of racket sports of any kind, and was well-known on various basketball courts around the northside of Indy. At one time, he maintained memberships at the Indianapolis Athletic Club, Five Seasons, Meridian Hills Country Club, and the YMCA (Arthur Jordan branch!).
John loved travel and enjoyed taking his family members, individually and as a group; although he made it clear that coming home was the best part. He was not overly fond of road trips but always had some wonderful country music to accompany those he did undertake. He had proficiency with languages and enjoyed speaking with people in their native tongue. He loved card games, especially Euchre (where he loved to “go it alone”), as well as chess. He loved people and he was a loyal and helpful friend. A true renaissance man, he was equally at home in a suit, a tool belt, and athletic shorts (and I do mean short!). He enjoyed learning new things, working with his hands, and laughter (but not at other’s expense). There are stories told of how much food he could eat at a sitting, including at business lunches, but he was a meat and potatoes kind of guy, particularly a good steak and fried chicken. Fortunately, the house on Windcombe wasn’t far from Hollyhock Hill restaurant, which served some of the best friend chicken anywhere.
John was stricken with primary central nervous system lymphoma at the age of 62. Chemo successfully beat back a couple of relapses, and he had been cancer free for nearly 10 years, but the combination took its toll on him, and he was never able to return to the level activity he maintained before his diagnosis. Despite his physical limitations, he continued to provide counsel to anyone who sought it (and maybe some who did not).
John is survived by Pam, his wife of 55 years, his children Denise Purdie Andrews, Elaine (Brandon) Bush, Andrew (Jenny) Purdie, and Claire (J Hampton) Purdie, and his 5 grandchildren Tyler, Ward, Alec, Samantha, and Josh. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Our Lady of Grace Monastery and Right to Life of Indianapolis.