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William Ray Purkel

December 25, 1928 February 19, 2017
William Ray Purkel
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Obituary for William Ray Purkel

William Ray Purkel
December 25, 1928 - February 19, 2017

William R. Purkel, 88, beloved husband, father, and grandfather, of Royal Oak, Michigan passed away on Sunday, February 19, 2017 at Troy Beaumont Hospital.

William (Bill), son of the late Walter and Minnie (nee Sullivan) Purkel, was born early Christmas morning on his parents' farm in Blandville, Kentucky. Bill grew up on the farm with his older brother Virgil and younger sister Shirley. It was hard work at times but Billy Ray, as he was known then, loved his mom's gravy and biscuits, hunting and sports. He played on his high school basketball and baseball teams. He continued playing baseball at the tri-state level and even tried out as a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Bill started his career at Caterpillar in Peoria where he became a purchasing agent. He married and had four daughters, Roseanna, Cindy, Beth and Theresa. Bill enjoyed singing his small daughters to sleep at night and also sang in a Barbershop Choir for a few years.

After his marriage ended, Bill moved to Michigan when he reconnected with his childhood sweetheart Gladys Hall. They were married December 21, 1968 in Edwardsville, IL. He regularly attended Highland Park Baptist Church where Gladys was an active member.

Bill continued his career as a top salesman for International Harvester. He had many interests and activities which included bowling, tennis, deer hunting and travel.

In his later years Bill enjoyed eating at his favorite restaurants, reading the paper cover-to-cover, watching old episodes of Gunsmoke and any sport that had a ball. Best of all, he loved hearing from his family and friends.

Bill is survived by his wife, Gladys; daughters Roseanna (Dennis) Kuhfus, Beth Westerfield, Theresa (John) Yount; grandchildren David Pein, Bethany (John) Eide, Jonathan (Brent) Kuhfus, Lee Joyner, Adam (Moona) Joyner, Jason (Meredith) Joyner, Sherry (Bill) Mazzola and Robert Yount; great-grandchildren Elizabeth, Grace, Ben, Nick, Justin, William, Lisa, Patrick, Hailee, Savanna, Melissa, Mia, Ian, Tyler, Linsey and David. He was preceded in death by his brother Virgil Purkel, sister Shirley Harris, and daughter Cynthia Joyner.

In accordance with his wishes, Bill was cremated and a memorial service will be held later in Illinois. He will be interred at Swan Lake Memory Gardens, Peoria, IL.

Memorials appreciated to Highland Park Baptist Church, Southfield, MI or the American Heart Association.


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