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Ganson "Jock"'s Story

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Ganson “Jock” Purcell, Jr., M.D., died at the age of 80 on March 16, 2017, with his wife and sons at his side at Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport, Mass. He was born and raised in Washington, D.C., graduated from St. Albans School in 1954, Williams College in 1958, and medical school at Columbia University in 1962.
He was an Obstetrician/Gynecologist in a private practice out of Hunt Hospital, but that career was cut short by rheumatoid arthritis that challenged him throughout his life. He took an appointment at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1977 where he was Chief of Staff for 13 years, and co-established the Life Flight helicopter program at UMass Medical Center. He was active in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Massachusetts Medical Society. His final position was at Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford, Conn., as Department Head of OB/GYN, retiring in 2003.
In retirement, he was active in many local and state boards. He was particularly involved with Mass Audubon Joppa Flats Education Center from its beginning. For years he led birding programs, volunteered at the banding station, hosted international interns, held an annual chili festival that raised money for Belize scholarships, and so much more. He was full of energy, imagination, curiosity, good will and good humor with a keen intellect. He and his wife, Nancy travelled extensively from Antarctica to Svalbard, Australia to Africa in search of birds and mammals. He participated in a local “News and Views” weekly discussion of politics and was passionate about military history, the environment and nature. He chaired an Institutional Review Board at Asentral, Inc., since December 2005.
He leaves behind his wife, Nancy; sons, Edward “Ted” and wife, Cindy Purcell of Rutland, Mass., DeWitt and wife, Amy Purcell of Georgetown, Mass.; a sister, Patsy Chappell of Cambridge, Mass.; and a brother, Gervaise and wife, Nicky Purcell of Moneta, Va. His grandchildren are Tanner, Catharine, DeWitt, Carson, Caroline, Charlotte and Thomas, and he encouraged them, enjoyed their sports activities, and seldom missed a hockey game.
He was a U.S. Navy veteran, having served as a lieutenant on the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt submarine from 1963 to 1965.
A celebration of Jock’s life will be held Saturday, March 25, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Joppa Flats Education Center, 1 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport, MA. The Twomey, LeBlanc, & Conte Funeral Home, 193 High St., Newburyport, MA 01950 is assisting Mr. Purcell’s family with his funeral arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, consider a donation to MA Audubon, Joppa Flats at the above address.
To offer online condolences, please visit www.tlcfuneralhome.com.
Published on  March 22, 2017
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