The Purcell Family
The Robert P. Purcell Memorial Engineering Scholarship was established by the family of the late Robert P. Purcell to perpetuate his generosity and service to community and family and to recognize his dedication to engineering. This endowed scholarship, established in 1988, is awarded to a freshman student pursuing an associate in science degree at Jefferson Community College.
Robert P. Purcell was born May 18, 1923, in Mineole, Long Island. He grew up in Floral Park, Long Island, and in 1946, he graduated from Notre Dame University in Notre Dame, Indiana.
Mr. Purcell began his career in Watertown, where he first worked for the Department of Transportation. Later, he joined the Johnson, Drake, and Piper engineering firm with offices in Malone and Schenectady and then the John J. Harvey Company, a construction firm with offices in Utica and Watertown. In 1964, Mr. Purcell and Edward J. Colligan formed a partnership in the Deline Construction Company. Mr. Purcell purchased all of Mr. Colligan’s interest in Pratt Street Incorporated in 1981, a company the two men had established over the years. In 1983, the company was renamed Purcell Construction.
Purcell Construction, under the direction of Robert P. Purcell, has an impressive list of projects completed in the Watertown area. Included are the Church of Latter Day Saints on Ives Street, the Stone Presbyterian Church on Chestnut Street, and the Church of Nazarene on Thompson Boulevard. Additionally, his firm was responsible for constructing 15 apartment complexes for elderly and moderate income families, as well as 35 apartments for the handicapped. Mr. Purcell’s company is also responsible for the construction of the Centennial Apartments, the Henry Keep Apartments, and for the renovation of the YMCA Building.
Mr. Purcell was a cummunicant of St. Patrick’s Church and a member of the Board of The Children’s Home of Jefferson County and the Jefferson County Committee on Alcoholism.
Robert P. Purcell died in Florida on Dec. 30, 1986. He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Sarah D. Purcell, four children, and a number of grandchildren. His son Mark S. Purcell, succeeds him as head of Purcell Construction.
The Jefferson Community College Foundation is grateful to the Purcell Family for providing this scholarship.