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December 26, 2013

(7/6/1921 - 12/20/2013)

Verna L. Purvis, 92, formally of Memphis, Missouri, died December 20, 2013 at Westbrook Residential Care Facility in Kearney, Missouri.

She was born in Scotland County, Missouri, near Hitt, on July 6, 1921, to Charles Edlin and Ada Janette Gristy Peck.

She graduated from Memphis High School, Class of 1941.

Verna was united in marriage to Leland W. Howard on April 14, 1942 and to this union 10 children was born. She married William R. Purvis on January 23, 1971 in Edina, Missouri. Bill preceded her in death on September 14, 2011.

Verna was employed by the Scotland County Hospital in Memphis, working in the operating room for nineteen years until her retirement in 1999. She was a member of St. John Catholic Church, having served as a Eucharistic Minister and lector and was very active in the St. John Ladies Guild. Verna was an avid reader and always strived to deepen her faith.

Survivors include her children: Lea Ann Hughes of Norman, Oklahoma; Debbie Shepherd of Laurie, Missouri; Annette Schwab and her husband Fred Schwab of Kearney, Missouri; Stephen Howard of Katy, Texas; David Howard and his wife, Debbie, of Cherow, Colorado; Douglas Howard and his wife, Becky, of Abilene, Texas; Jon Howard and his wife, Erica, of Isle Wright, England and Joe Howard of Branson, Missouri. Other survivors include twenty-six grandchildren, seven step-grandchildren, forty-one great-grandchildren, two great-great-grandchildren; four sisters; Mary M. Russell of Des Moines, Iowa; Joy Musgrove of Gorin, Missouri; Joanna Shelley of Memphis, Missouri and Judy Michael of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; a brother, Gerald Peck, of Florence, South Carolina; many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents, two brothers: Carlos Peck and Cecil C. Peck; two sisters: Verlee Clark and Jewel Flemming, one son Leland Sonny Howard and three grandchildren; Todd Howard, Kelly Howard, and Rebecca Howard.

Visitation will be held at St. John’s Church on Saturday, December 28, 2013 starting at 9:00 AM until 11:00 AM.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 11:00 AM at St. John’s Church with Father Joseph Hoi and Father Bill Kottenstette officiating. John Michael will lead the music. Burial of cremains will be in the Memphis Cemetery following the service.

Memorials may be made to St. John Church and may be left at or mailed to Memphis Funeral Home, 378 South Market Street Memphis, Missouri 63555.

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Arrangements are under the direction of Memphis Funeral Home.

Copyright © 2001
Memphis Democrat
121 South Main Street
Memphis MO 63555
Phone: 660-465-7016 -- Email:

Copyright © 2001
Memphis Democrat
121 South Main Street
Memphis MO 63555
Phone: 660-465-7016 -- Email: