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David M. Purdy

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TROY - A memorial service for David M. Purdy, 81, who died on Nov. 26, 2012, will be held at Unity College Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Unity on Sept. 21, 2013 at 5 p.m.

Purdy was born June 18, 1931, in Ipswich, Mass., son of Mrs. Annie M. Purdy. After graduating from Ipswich High School, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bates College in Lewiston, where he lettered in baseball and football. He proudly served our country in the United States Marine Corp during the Korean Conflict, providing leadership as 1st Lieutenant; he received the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal and the UN Service Medal. He attended Georgetown University, Washington D.C. and received a Master's of Science in Political Science. He earned a PhD in Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley.

While attending Berkeley, David hiked the Sierra Mountains sharing many stories about his travels in the High Sierra backcountry. He hung on tightly atop Douglas Firs in rain and windstorms much like John Muir did. His reverence for natural places, thirst for adventure and discovery, and the natural educator within him eventually led him to leading Boy Scout troops.

In 1976, David moved to Troy and began his epic career as professor at Unity College. This small and young institution grew and was shaped in positive ways under his influence, educational and administrative leadership. Unity College faculty and students alike remember him fondly. He gave generously to Unity College by starting a scholarship fund for non-traditional students in his name.

David never married. He said, "I never had my own children, but I have about 2,000 of them." From Boy Scouts to Unity College students, David developed close connections of the heart, creating a lifetime of family that spans many decades all over the world.

He donated much of his time and money to conservation groups and disadvantaged populations. His property abutted Carlton Bog, which is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He volunteered for the service for over 30 years, keeping a watchful eye on the bog's delicate eco-system. He was selectman for the Town of Troy.

David was a big fan of opera, classical music and its composers, poetry, rock and roll, taco parties, traveling, culture, staying up to date with news, current events and keeping people around him well informed, well after his 2001 retirement from Unity College. He will forever be remembered as a great educator by thousands of friends and is survived by Ryan Howes, who was like a grandson to him. In his Will and Testament, David asked that those wishing to honor him listen to Verdi's Requiem.

Donations in David Purdy's memory can be made out to Unity College. Indicate the David Purdy Fund and your donation will go towards his scholarship fund so that Dave's legacy lives on in the students of tomorrow.
Published in BDN Maine on Sept. 12, 2013
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