RICHARD HAWES PURNELL left us peacefully on Friday May 25, 2018 at his home with family in Crofton, Maryland. Born January 20, 1945 to Hawes and Lula Purnell of Austin, Texas. Rick was recognized as an All American football player at Vincennes High School, Vincennes, Indiana prior to attending and graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy class of 1967. On an Eastern Airlines flight in 1965 prior to graduating he met a flight attendant who would be the love of his life and future wife, Joy Sammis. He reported to flight school Pensacola, FL immediately after graduation and then to Corpus Christi, TX where he received his Naval Aviation wings. Rick reported to RVAW 120 for training on the E-2 aircraft and then to his first operational squadron, VAW-126, as a plank owner. Subsequent tours in the Navy included, Flight Instructor in Milton, FL, Hangar Deck Officer on the John F Kennedy, Staff Communications Officer for Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic, Maintenance Officer VAW-126, Maintenance Officer and C-2 Pilot VR- 24 Sigonella, Sicily.
Rick separated from the U.S. Navy in 1980 and eventually retired in 1995 after flying with the Naval Reserves. Initially hired by the Sperry Corporation as an engineer and through various corporate acquisitions, Rick ended a successful 37-year corporate career as the Director, Avionics and Radar Systems with the Lockheed Martin Corporation, Arlington, VA. Rick is survived by Joy Sammis Purnell, wife of 50 years, son Theodore Richard Purnell, daughter-in-law Kelly Legal Purnell, grandsons James Theodore Purnell, Bryce Legal Purnell, Davis Ryan Purnell, and Quinn Casamer Purnell. Services will be held at the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel, Annapolis, MD, on Tuesday, 19 June, at 2pm. Following the service will be a reception at the Severn Inn, Annapolis, MD. In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the VAW-VRC Memorial Scholarship Fund at http://vaw-vrc-memorialfund.org/donations/
9/25/2019 11:50:44 am
So sorry to hear about Rick's passing on this website. We were squadron mates at VR-24 Sigonella, Sicily in the late '70's and I always enjoyed his company. Prayers and hugs to his family.
Joy Sammis PURNELL
4/13/2023 07:26:55 pm
I just now saw this🇺🇸I can’t tell you how very much I miss my darling Rick thank you for remembering us and our happy times in beautiful Sicily
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