Joseph E. Purcell Jr.

June 12, 1936November 15, 2013

Joseph (Joe) Edward Purcell (77) of Cockeysville, Maryland died Friday, November 15, 2013 at Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. He was born on June 12, 1936 to Joseph E and Catherine Ellen (Coleman) Purcell in Centralia, Pennsylvania. Following graduation from Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania 1958, he entered the Army and served for two years in Europe. After his military service, he moved to Baltimore to begin work as a Geology teacher at Kenwood High School. It was there that he met his future wife, Margaret (Peggy) Martin in 1962; they married on November 23, 1963. Joe continued to advance both his career and his academic base in the subsequent years, earning a Master of Liberal Arts from Johns Hopkins University, a Master of Science from Loyola University and studying at Western Maryland University (now McDaniel College), the University of Michigan and University of New Hampshire. Professionally, he rose through the ranks in the Baltimore County Public Schools System and served as Vice-Principal at many of the area’s high schools, ultimately retiring in 1992 from Pikesville High School. During summers ‘off’ in the early 70’s he also worked as a Park Ranger at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, which dovetailed perfectly with his passion for history and education. Even in retirement he had a desire to teach and he taught at several local colleges including Loyola University, Goucher University, Notre Dame University of Maryland and Essex, Catonsville, and Dundalk Community Colleges. Joe was a faithful member of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Cockeysville, MD where he volunteered in many capacities including as a Pre-Cana (marriage preparation) advisor and an Eucharistic Minister. He loved Notre Dame and Eagles football, a good meal out with friends, sharing stories and making people laugh. He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife, Peggy. He is survived by his sister Marlene Lavelle and her husband, George and nephew, George Lavelle, nieces Catherine L. Kessmeier (husband, Jon) and Beth McFadden in addition to grand-nephews/nieces Erik, Kaitlin, and Patrick Kessmeier and Shannon Lavelle. The family will receive friends in the Lemmon Funeral Home of Dulaney Valley, Inc, 10 W. Padonia Road (at York Road) Timonium, Maryland 21093 on Wednesday from 10 to 11:30AM. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated in St. Joseph's Church, 101 Church Lane, Cockeysville, MD 21030 on Wednesday, November 20, at 12PM. Interment Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. Expressions of sympathy may be directed Mr. Purcell's name to Viva House, 265 Mount Street, Baltimore, MD, 21223. A guest book is available at


  • Visitation Wednesday, November 20, 2013
  • Funeral Mass Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Joseph E. Purcell Jr.

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Bill Lucky-ToHaveMet

December 31, 2013

[December 31, 2013:] I was a student in a Dundalk Community College geography class around 1993. My life was touched by Joe's positive and engaging temperament. He was charming and entertaining. I was just this moment updating an 18 year old personal database of personal contacts and looked him up and stumbled upon this news. I would have reached out by phone to him tomorrow to say hello and "thanks" across these many years. I cannot do that now, so with these words I am sending thoughts of gratitude and prayers of my heart upward to him for his steps having crossed mine. I benefitted much by that happening and deeply enjoyed him as a person. Thank you, good Sir and go with G*d!

Don & Bonnie Farver

November 20, 2013

So sorry to hear the passing of my cousin Joey. I still remember the visits to Centralia to see the family. Joey always sent Christmas cards. I will always remember him in my prayers.

John and Geri Smyth

November 19, 2013

So sorry to hear of Joe's passing. He and Peggy were wonderful neighbors and friends. We still received Christmas cards from Joe and looked forward to receiving them each year. Joe was truly a kind and gentle soul. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time, although we're sure he's happiest being reunited with Peggy.

Richard & Kathleen D'Ambrisi

November 18, 2013

To family and friends we extend our deepest condolences for your loss. You are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.