Vivian Creech Purdy loved volunteering, gardening

Saturday, August 16, 2014 | 7:39 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Vivian Creech Purdy, of Columbia, died Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. She was 94.

She was born in Pineville, Ky., on March 30, 1920, into a family that operated a coal mine in Harlan County, Ky. She enjoyed Girl Scouts and many high school activities while growing up in Knoxville, Tenn. She completed her senior year of high school at Stephens College in Columbia. Mrs. Purdy also received her associate's degree in 1939 from Stephens.

At Stephens she was active in athletics and also in the college group at First Baptist Church where she met Allan Purdy, an agriculture student from Macon. After graduating from Stephens, she returned to Knoxville where she graduated from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor's in psychology. During WWII she worked as a customer service agent for American Airlines in Knoxville, enjoyed hiking in the Smoky Mountains and corresponded with Allan, who was serving in the Navy in the Mediterranean. They were married in June 1945 and returned to make their home in Columbia in 1947.

Mrs. Purdy was a full-time mother with four children, an avid gardener and an active participant in church and community activities. She served as a Red Cross volunteer Gray Lady at University Hospital, helped locate and purchase the Girl Scout Silver Meadows Camp and served First Baptist Church in many capacities. After her husband retired,  the couple enjoyed traveling to visit family and friends, including Allan’s professional colleagues in the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

In her later years when she was less physically active, she continued her practice of reading late into the night, and she played chess with anyone who would take her on.

Mrs. Purdy is survived by three sons, George and his wife, Rayma, of Seattle, Robert and his wife, Bonnie, of Renton, Wash., and Raymond of Madison, Wis.; one daughter, Christina and her husband, Doug, of Seattle; four grandchildren Robert Jr., Laura, Catherine and Elizabeth; four great grandchildren; and a great-great-granddaughter.

Mr. Purdy died in 2010.

Visitation will be held from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on Wednesday at First Baptist Church, 1112 E. Broadway. Services will follow at the church.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests a donation to Stephens College, 1200 E. Broadway, Columbia, MO 65205, First Baptist Church of Columbia, 1112 E. Broadway, Columbia, MO 65201, or a charity of your choice.

Online condolences may be left for the family at

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