Ella Congdon Purple, 99, of Hamilton, NY, passed away Monday, April 11, 2011,at the Harding Nursing Home, Waterville, NY.
She was born August 22, 1911, in Clarendon, VT, a daughter of Hugh and Julia Johnson Congdon. Ella was valedictorian of her one-room grade school in Clarendon, valedictorian of her Rutland, VT, High School class, and made a clean sweep of it by being valedictorian of her Middlebury College Class of 1932. Educated as a French and Latin teacher, she taught for a short time at Schuyler Lake, NY, and in later years was a substitute teacher in Ilion and Hamilton, NY. On August 1, 1934, Ella married George H. Purple, then principal of the Schuyler Lake school, in Wallingford,VT. He predeceased her in 1977.
Ella led a busy life while her children were growing up, serving variously as a den mother for Cub Scouts, a troop leader for Girl Scouts for many years, serving as Commissioner at one time, while on many Councils and Troops. She was active in church work in Richfield Springs and Ilion with those respective Methodist Churches. Moving to Hamilton in 1964 after George had retired from public school and had gone to work in the Education Department at Colgate University, she was a member of Park United Methodist Church, serving on many councils and positions in the local church as well as district offices. She was a member of the United Methodist Women and the Fort Nightly Club in Hamilton, the Colgate Women's Club, and was an honorary member of the King's Daughters. Her hobbies included gardening, reading, knitting, and crocheting.
She continued to lead a busy life while her grandchildren were growing. This dozen and their families are forever grateful for the memorable happy, often rowdy, days spent all together, overflowing the Madison Street home.
At the age of 72 she really began to travel, visiting 19 countries and much of the US. This included climbing the Great Wall of China after turning 80, and seeing much of the former Yugoslavia and Turkey, with several trips to Europe as well. Her friend, Carolyn Keith of North Brookfield, accompanied her as they became veterans of the airways and tour busses. She led a busy, engaged life and continued to amaze her children as she entered her nineties with no slowing down.
Her family is spread over half of the eastern US. Surviving are her children, Brig Gen (Ret) Robert and Johanne Purple of Morrisville; Dr. Richard and Jere' Anne Purple of Minneapolis, MN; Lee Ellen Bent of Pittsburgh, PA, and Marco Island, FL; Lynne and Dr. John W. Baker ll of Cornwall and Scottsdale, AZ; Leslie Ann Purple of Vergennes, VT; her sister, Helen Durfee of Rutland,VT; brothers Leland (Gladys) and Edward (Dorothy) Congdon, both of Clarendon ,VT; 12 grandchildren, 3 step-grandchildren, several great-grandchildren, and many nieces, nephews, and grand nieces and nephews.
A celebration of her long, loving, involved, and productive life will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 30th, in Park United Methodist Church, Hamilton. A reception will follow immediately in Fellowship Hall of the church. Interment will be in the Madison Street Cemetery next to George, across from 78 Madison St., the only home they ever owned.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Park Methodist Church, PO Box 54, Hamilton, NY 13346; the Hamilton Public Library, 13 Broad St., Hamilton, NY 13346, both of which she loved; or to the Harding Nursing Home Activities Fund, 220 Tower St., Waterville, NY 13480, where she received such kind and loving care for over 4 years.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Burgess & Tedesco Funeral Home, 25 Broad St., Hamilton.