RIP: James Elliott Purdy

Posted Jan 15, 2013

The Reverend Canon James Elliott Purdy was born on September 24, 1913, in Bath, New York, and died on January 6, 2013, at The Evergreens in Moorestown, New Jersey.

Preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Eloise Hughes Purdy in 2009; his brother, Edward; his sister, Frances Irene Harris Purdy; and his parents, the Reverend Charles Edwin Purdy, M.D., and Mary Frances Ann Ginn, Canon Purdy is survived by his son, the Reverend James Hughes Purdy (Emma Sarosdy Purdy); grand daughters Emma Purdy Coyle (John) and Katherine Purdy Spung (Michael); one great-grand daughter; and his brother, Samuel Edwin Purdy.

Canon Purdy was graduated from Bishop’s University, Lennoxville, Quebec, (1936, 1937) and the General Theological Seminary, New York City (1938).  He was ordained to the diaconate and priesthood in The Episcopal Church in 1938 and served as the rector of congregations in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Trenton, Camden, Bordentown, and Merchantville, New Jersey.

Through five decades, Canon Purdy was a member and chair of many committees in The Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey including the Standing Committee, the Diocesan Foundation, the Commission on Ministry, the Board of Examining Chaplains, and the Departments of Christian Social Relations and Religious Education.

He served as Chaplain, United States Army at Fort Dix and at McGuire Air Force Base; Dean of the Boys’ Summer Conference; Dean of the Burlington and Camden Convocations; President of Clericus; Deputy to Provincial Synod; President of the Ecumenical Religious Leaders Conference of New Jersey; Chaplain of the Niagara Fire Department in Merchantville; member and President of the Rotary Clubs in Bordentown and Pennsauken and the Lions’ Club in Trenton; and as the longest-serving Chaplain of the Niagara Fire Company in Merchantville.

He was seated as an honorary Canon of Trinity Cathedral, Trenton, in 1958 and received the Diocesan Medal of Honor in 1962.  Prior to, and at the time of, his death, Canon Purdy was senior priest in the Diocese.

Services: The Burial Office and Holy Eucharist were celebrated in The Episcopal Chapel at The Evergreens, 309 Bridgeboro Road, Moorestown, on Wednesday, January 9, at eleven o’clock in the morning. Private interment at Greenwood Cemetery, Trenton.