Dr. Puryear was born in Winton, North Carolina on January 10, 1941, to Cola Wiggins and Elois Jones Wiggins. Her immediate family was relatively small, consisting of her parents, a brother, Christopher, and a sister, Regina. However, she had a large extended family and was surrounded by grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. Some of his most treasured memories were the Jones family reunions which brought together the three branches of the Jones family tree.
Dr Puryear attended CS Brown High School, Winton’s racially segregated high school. She was an outstanding student and leader, graduating in 1958 as a valedictorian and class president. She continued her education at the Central University of North Carolina in Durham, North Carolina, where she received the Volkemenia Award for “highest average in scholarship, initiative, perseverance. and general attitude “. In 1960, she transferred to Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia for her junior and senior years. She graduated with honors in 1962 with a degree in sociology. She was a member of the Alpha Kappa Mu National Honor Society and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
Dr. Puryear went on to receive a Masters of Social Work in 1964 from the University of Pennsylvania, a Masters in 1972 and a Doctorate in 1977, both in Public Administration, from New York University (NYU).
In August 1962, after graduating from college, she married Alvin Puryear. As she achieved her remarkable academic goals, she had three daughters, Pamela (1963), Susan (1971) and Karen (1975). She was a dedicated mother who took her daughters to ice skating and music lessons, cheered them on in their softball and volleyball games, and made sure the family was together for dinner, that she prepared every night.
Dr Puryear was also active in the education of his three daughters and was proud when they attended Yale University and graduated from Harvard and Stanford Universities. She was also devoted to her two granddaughters, Mykah and Tyla. She never missed a dance recital or school grandparents day, and loved to celebrate birthdays and holidays with “the girls”. She got to watch them graduate from high school and attend Yale University and Wellesley College, filling her with pride and joy.
The Puryear’s nearly six-decade marriage was a true partnership of family and community, and one another. They supported each other in their academic and professional pursuits, even when it involved periodically living in different cities for their higher education or spending time separately due to business travel. Even before cellphones and emails, they still knew what was going on with each other and with their children because their communications and connections were so strong. They have traveled a lot, discovering the world together and creating memories with their families. From the start, they shared values ââthat enabled them to realize the vision they had for their life and their family.
Dr. Puryear began her professional career as a social worker at St. Christopher’s School in Dobbs Ferry, NY, which cared for children in foster homes and group homes. In 1978, she joined the faculty of New Haven University in West Haven, CT. A full professor of public administration, she has taught undergraduate and graduate courses and conducted research on the impact of federal regulations on small Connecticut businesses and businesses in the New England fishing industry. .
For more than 20 years, starting in 1988, she partnered with her husband to provide consulting and research services to public and private sector clients in the areas of economic analysis, market research, organizational development and management training and development.
Dr. Puryear has also been active in several community and charitable causes. In New York, she was a board member of the Riverdale Mental Health Association; an administrator from the Horace Mann School; on the session at the Riverdale Presbyterian Church; and a member of the James M. Jarvie Commonwealth Service which provides senior care services in the New York area. In Williamsburg, she was a founding member of the Greater Williamsburg Women’s Association; served on the deacons council for the Presbyterian Church in Williamsburg; and volunteered with Faith-In-Action, an agency that provides transportation and support services to seniors.
Dr Puryear is survived by Alvin Puryear (husband); Pamela Puryear, Susan Puryear and Karen Puryear Morgan (daughters); Christopher Wiggins (brother); Mykah Puryear DeMeulenaere and Tyla Puryear DeMeulenaere (granddaughters); Kenneth Alston (brother-in-law); Barbara Banks Wiggins (sister-in-law); Jeremy Morgan (son-in-law); and Kelvin Alston and Cristi Wiggins (nephew and niece).
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the fund established by Dr. Puryear, the “Catherine Puryear Fund for Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Research”. Checks should be made payable to “The Mayo Clinic” and mailed to:
Mayo Clinic — Department of Development
Attention: Amanda Martin
200, first street, southwest
Rochester, MN 55905
Indicate “Puryear family” on the memo line.
Published by Daily Press October 10-12, 2021.