Left: Purnell, then a foreign service officer, takes Martin Luther King, Jr. on a tour of Jamaica (Photo: Dick Carter via The News Journal)
Another exceptional Delawarean from a previous generation of activist types has died.
Skip Purnell passed on on July 28, 2015, at the age of 93. He and spouse Til Purnell had celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in June.
Skipper and Til were fixtures of life in Sussex County for decades, until moving to Virginia in 2006 to be closer to family members. Their estate on Herring Creek included a building collection–mostly houses–, moved onto their property from various locations. They were an interesting combination of conservative Sussex County, Delaware, traits and the progressive thinking of people who had seen the world–Purnell had a career in the US Foreign Service. Til was (is, I presume) more the environmentalist, perhaps the most active in Sussex County. Skip represented the League of Women Voters in the process that lead to the gutting of the Delaware Coastal Zone Act. Whether he ever regretted what he agreed to, I don’t know. Continue reading