Lt. Col. Robert Dean Purcell of Columbia, South Carolina, passed away on March 20, 2018. He was born on May 1, 1931, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to John LeRoy Purcell and Anna Frances Purcell. He graduated from Havre de Grace High School in Havre de Grace, Maryland, in 1948. While he was in high school, he served in the Navy Reserve, and a year after graduation, he joined the United States Marine Corps. On February 16, 1952, he married Ann Duane Purcell (nee Jackson), who was his high school sweetheart, and they remained married 58 years until her death from ALS in 2010. He served as a combat Marine and as a Naval Aviator. He served in Korea in Second Battalion, Fifth Marines as a Second Lieutenant Infantry Platoon Officer from 1952-1953. He also served in Vietnam as a Major, UH-1 (Huey) gunship pilot with Squadron VMO-6 from 1965-1966 during which he flew 560 combat missions. His military service earned him the Silver Star, Bronze Star (V), Purple Heart (2), Distinguished Flying Cross, 28 Air Medals, Republic of Korea Presidential Ribbon, Navy Commendation Medal with Gold Star, Vietnamese Gallantry Cross, and other awards and decorations. He retired from the Marine Corps in January 1970, received a teaching degree from the Citadel in 1973, and began a career in public education, where he served as a teacher, a guidance counselor, a high school administrator, and in the South Carolina State Department of Education. He served twenty plus years in public education before retiring. Lt. Col. Purcell is survived by his five children, Ellen Paige Jones (Jack), Jane Leigh Tucker (Steve), Elizabeth Ann Browning (Robin), Robert Dean Purcell, Jr. (Kelly), and Mark Andrew Purcell (Gay). He is also survived by thirteen grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Additionally, he is survived by his brother, William Purcell (Donna), his sister-in-law, Sarah Purcell, and many nieces and nephews. There will be a graveside service at Beaufort National Cemetery in Beaufort, South Carolina, at 1:00 on Friday, April 27, 2018. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donating to the ALS Guardian Angels, Please sign the online guestbook at Visit our guestbook at charleston

Posted in: Post and Courier

Posted on: 2018-03-23

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