Michael Emmett Purl (70) died August 16, 2017, at home surrounded by his loving family after a short and courageous battle with ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease. Michael was born December 22, 1946 in Madera, California to Mary Grace Leggett and Emmett Purl, Jr. He graduated from Madera Union High School Class of 1964. Many of his classmates were his lifelong friends. While in high school, he was in the band under Mr. Allen Harkins playing the clarinet and the saxophone, and was the drum major for the “Showband of the Valley” leading the band in statewide parades.
Michael attended Fresno State College and graduated in 1967 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. He began his broadcasting career doing voiceovers of the Sunday comics on KMJ while still in college. During college, he took a job at KFSN Channel 30, working his way up from floor man to news director. He successfully implemented the format of Action News.
In 1977, he left the news business and went to work with his father at Purl’s Sheet Metal. He eventually was passed the baton after his father retired in 1984. His vision helped the business grow from a small operation to an innovator in their field. He was inducted into the Carrier Hall of Fame in 2010.
“Madera has been very good to the Purl Family,” was something Michael believed and he gave back to the community he loved so much. He was active with Boy Scout Troop 116 and Cub Scout Pack 120. He and his son were the first father-son Eagle Scouts in the troop and he was awarded the Silver Beaver Award in 2014. He served on the board of Campfire for many years, and worked at Camp Adahi, building, fixing and working as a Camp Dad. He was awarded the Don and Cathi Warnock Community Service Award in 2017. He was Past President of Madera Kiwanis and an amateur HAM radio operator and enjoyed model railroading and turned his daughter’s bedroom into Papa’s train room.
Michael volunteered his time with Madera Method Wagon Train, riding the trail on horseback as an outrider and driving a wagon with Madera 4th graders. He also volunteered his time to Valley Children’s’ Hospital, Madera County Historical Society and Madera Historical Firefighters. He was awarded the 2009 Madera Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award. He enthusiastically supported the 4-H and FFA programs at the Madera and Chowchilla Fairs, and loved bumping the prices of an exhibitor who wrote him a letter. He supported Madera High School athletics, especially the baseball team. He collected antique fire trucks and enjoyed competing in annual musters with old fashioned games.
His love of old war movies and episodes of Blue Bloods were only outweighed by his love of chili dogs from Sno White, bologna dipped in mayonnaise and Oreo cookies. His family still cannot figure out his TV remote controls.
He was baptized at Trinity Episcopal Church and was an active member. He loved spending as much time as possible at his cabin in Sugar Pine, taking trailer trips with special friends and watching his San Francisco Giants. He loved his animals, especially his dog Abby.
As a husband and dad, family was everything and he believed it. He is survived by his beloved wife, Mickie Purl of Madera; his daughter Andrea Wasson and her husband Chuck of King City; his daughter Kerry Smith and her husband Joe of Madera; his son Derrick and wife Tiffany of Central Point, Oregon; and his daughter Deanne Graham and her husband Jeremy of Fresno; and his nephew Brad Lane and his wife Kristi of Kingsland, Texas, and nephew Erik Freund of Madera. Also surviving their Papa are grandchildren Jocelyn, Joshua, Nolan, Lillian, Bryson, Levi, Aubrey, Damon, Cortney, Andrea, Sierra and Wyatt; great grandchildren Henry and Wade, and great nieces Kristina and Deana. And his many cherished friends.
The Purl Family would like to express their gratitude to the ‘Dream Team’ who made Michael’s last month’s peaceful, and loving. Words are not enough to thank Patsy, Angie, Betty, Yanet and MeLisa. We are eternally grateful for your love and respect shown to your “Mr. Purl”. We are also grateful to Father Paul Colbert of Trinity Episcopal Church, who provided comfort and spiritual guidance during his visits.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 from 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at Jay Chapel, Madera, CA
Funeral Services will be held on Wednesday, August 23, 2017 1:00 P.M. at Jay Chapel, Madera, CA
Burial immediately following at Arbor Vitae Cemetery, Madera, CA
Memorial donations can be made to the donor’s choice or Michael’s many community causes or the ALS Association Golden West Chapter www.alsagoldenwest.org.