Raymond J. Purkis Jr of New Providence, NJ passed away at Overlook Medical Center on July 31 at the age of 79.
Born on January 14, 1941 to Raymond Sr. and Margaret, Ray was raised in the Elmora section of Elizabeth, N.J. He walked across the street from his home on Livingston Road to attend St. Genevieve’s School, and hitchhiked to Seton Hall Prep in South Orange. He was a graduate of Mount St. Mary’s College (Md.). Ray remained faithfully engaged with all these communities throughout his life, especially “The Mount,” where he made many lifelong friends, including Mary Ellen Gill, who became his wife. After marrying in 1965, the couple settled in Union, N.J., where they raised their family and spent most of their lives.
He was a lifelong parishioner of St. Genevieve’s Church, a longtime member of the Elizabeth Town & Country Club and the Suburban Golf Club, and a board member of the Egenolf Early Childhood Center. Ray spent more than 40 years in healthcare publishing, retiring in 2009 as Director of Marketing for the American Psychiatric Association.
Ray had more jokes and stories than the internet, and whether having pizza at Spirito’s, playing Scrabble by the pool, grilling in the backyard or simply chatting on the phone, his latest and greatest tale always brought smiles to family and friends alike.
In addition to his wife, Ray is survived by son Raymond III and daughter-in-law Danette of Montgomery, N.J.; daughter Jane Kearney and son-in-law Peter of Westfield, N.J.; son Daniel of South Orange, N.J.; grandchildren Emily, Bianca, Ian, Caitlin, Aidan and Erin, who spent many wonderful summers with him on Long Beach Island; sister Janet Jankulow and brother-in-law Art of Bay Head, N.J.; sister Mary Rusnak and brother-in-law Mike of Somerset, N.J., and brother Richard Purkis of Dallas, TX.
A private mass of Christian burial will be held at St. Genevieve’s Church, where Ray was baptized in 1941. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Ray’s alma mater Mount St. Mary’s University as a way to celebrate and honor Ray’s life: https://msmary.edu/give/one-time-gift.html.
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