William Earl Purvis, beloved husband, father and brother went to sleep peacefully at home on Saturday, November 11, 2023. He was born in the small town of Bethel, NC on March 10, 1938 to Estelle Savage and Andrew Mooring. From the age of 3, he was raised by his stepfather Sandy Purvis.
In 1960, he married his first wife, the young and beautiful Rosa Stokes and moved to Newport News, VA. They had four children together: Rosilyn Theresa, Eric Jr., Terrence, and Fred. He also raised a stepson, Gregory Ebron. After Rosa’s untimely death in 1976, he found himself a single father of five. However, in October 1977 he married Beverly Johnson, and they had one child, Tamyko. After her death from a long illness, he married his last wife Robin Hayes in 2011. William was always a devoted husband who truly appreciated the gift of marriage!
While living in Newport News, William came into contact with Jehovah’s Witnesses in the door-to-door ministry and was intrigued by the question “Did you know that Jesus did not die on a cross?” Thus began his study of the Bible. His love for the God of the Bible, Jehovah, and love for Bible truth moved him and Rosa to dedicate their lives and get baptized in 1962 in Greenville, North Carolina. In or around 1964, he was appointed as an elder in the Newport News Congregation. He never hesitated to go where there was a need to advance Kingdom interests. In 1966 he moved his young family from the city (Newport News) to the country (Smithfield) to help the small growing congregation. Even in his later years, when the opportunity arose to assist another congregation, again, he didn’t hesitate to volunteer!
Not only did William love the truth, he LIVED the truth! He was known for his humble and mild spirit, always willing to accept help, considering others superior to himself. He was known for his hospitality and self-sacrificing spirit. He had a zeal for the ministry because he loved people. He took his commission seriously knowing he was on a “Search and Rescue” mission! This moved him to use any occasion to share the good news whether it was at a gas station, the grocery store or from his hospital bed. William was also known for his recall of the scriptures and always had an encouraging thought or scripture to share with everyone.
William served faithfully and continuously for 61 years—59 years of those years as an elder in the congregation. During this time he enjoyed many privileges including attending Elder School in Pittsburgh, PA and the 8-day convention at Yankee Stadium in New York. He was especially privileged to attend the 1976 International Convention in Hamburg, Germany. William also enjoyed cooking, spending time with family and traveling. Truly, a life well lived!
William was preceded in death by his parents Estelle Knight, Andrew Mooring and Sandy Purvis; wives Rosa Lee Purvis and Beverly Michelle Purvis; sons Eric Purvis, Jr and Gregory Ebron; siblings Harvey Purvis and Hilda Purvis.
He is survived by his loving and faithful wife of 12 years Robin Purvis; children: Rosilyn Theresa, William Terrence Purvis (Stacie), Frederick Purvis (Tiffany), Tammy Outland (Larry) and Matthew Hayes; grandchildren: Eric Purvis Jr, DeAndre Purvis, Rozzie Outland, Lakayla Outland and Larry Kevin Outland III; siblings: Charles Knight, Tyrone Knight (Carol); along with many nieces including Lisa Purvis and Loretta Purvis, many nephews including Kwame Wilkins and Jerome Perkins and family, including Vee Lily Perkins.
William was also a beloved spiritual father and brother to many in the community and especially those in the Smithfield Congregation. He will surely be missed by all!
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, December 2, 2023 at 1:00pm at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, 15673 Scotts Factory Road, Smithfield, VA 23430
Please keep the Purvis family in your prayers.