WICHITA FALLS, TX (TNN) - Everyone who attended the gathering for Graham Purcell’s 100th birthday celebration was able to see a glimpse of his early life thanks to his son Blaine Purcell who brought memorabilia to Midwestern State University’s archives from his father's child hood home in Archer City.
“This is where it belonged. Archer City and Wichita Falls where he made his political debut, and his livelihood, and his friends were here,” Blaine Purcell said of his father’s belongings.
Attendees were not only able to see photographs from Purcell’s life, they were also able to hear stories from his sons who talked of his time working with juveniles as a district judge and his friends who talked of his time as a U.S. congressman.
Purcell was known for helping young people turn their lives around, reaching across the aisle to help pass landmark legislation, and playing a critical role in bringing the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program to Sheppard Air Force Base.
Yet no matter how big his achievements became, those he met always remembered him for how he showed a personal interest in their lives.
MSU Special Collections Librarian helped put the event together. She said, “I’ve had phone calls from people or emails from people that weren’t able to make it but also told me stories about their relationship with Graham Purcell.”
His son Blake Purcell said of the turnout, “Eight years he's been gone, and we had over a hundred people here. He was a person that people remembered and liked. That's a great legacy to be able to enjoy.”
Along with personal memorabilia, the Moffett Library has 141 boxes Purcell's congressional papers from his time as a representative.
Purcell lived in Wichita Falls from the late eighties until his passing in 2011.