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Thursday, November 14, 2019
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Hessel Loren Purdy, Jr. was born August 16, 1940 in Hays, Kansas to Hessel (HL), Sr. and LaVera (Goff) Purdy. In 1945, they moved back to the farm in Braman, Oklahoma. In 1958, Hessel graduated from Braman High School.

After graduation, he went to work for Smith Funeral Home in Guthrie, Oklahoma before starting school at Northern Oklahoma Junior College. He went on to earn his Bachelor of Science from Northwestern State College in Alva, Oklahoma in 1964. Soon after he began work on his master’s degree.

Hessel took his first teaching position in 1964 in Coldwater, Kansas, teaching 6th grade and coaching basketball. At a county teacher’s picnic in August of ‘64, he met the love of his life, Toni Brockway. They were married on July 11, 1966 in Cleo Springs, Oklahoma. They made their home in Protection, Kansas. They welcomed their 1st bundle of joy, Denise Lin, in January of 1969.

In the summer of ’69, after receiving his Master of Education from Southwestern State College in Weatherford, Oklahoma, they moved to Blackwell, Oklahoma, where Hessel began his 29-year career as a teacher and principal. In July of 1971, they welcomed their sparkler, Krista Glenn. Hessel was involved at all four Elementary Schools, with the majority of his time spent as principal of Huston Elementary School. Hessel retired from Blackwell Public Schools in 1998.

Following his retirement, he went to work for the Kay County Conservation District in Newkirk, Oklahoma, for 5 years. He also stepped back into the classroom, teaching for his Alma Mater (Braman) for one year.

In 2009, Hessel and Toni moved to Tonkawa, Oklahoma, which allowed them to be closer to their daughters and granddaughters.

Hessel loved spending time with his 4 precious granddaughters – the 4 H’s – Holly Jane, Hannah Beth, Heidi Marie, and Henley Jo. He could always be found in the stands, eating popcorn while cheering on his granddaughters playing basketball and soccer, running track, pole vaulting, cheerleading, and dancing

Hessel served as the President of the Blackwell Public Library Board, and was a member of Blackwell’s Lion’s Club and Tonkawa’s Lion’s Club. He was active in Blackwell First Christian Church and Community Christian Church in Ponca City, Oklahoma. Hessel was a member of First United Methodist Church of Tonkawa.

His hobbies included wood carving, home improvement, lawn care, and watching Blackwell, Tonkawa, NOC, and Oklahoma State University sports.

Hessel was preceded in death by his parents, HL and LaVera Purdy; his sister and brother-in-law, Donna (Purdy) and Vernon Farris; and nephew, LJ Farris.

He is survived by his wife, Toni; daughters, Denise Lewis and husband Vince, Krista Hembree and husband Brian, all of Tonkawa, Oklahoma; granddaughters, Holly Hembree and fiancée Colton Wright of Edmond, Oklahoma, Hannah, Heidi, and Henley Hembree, all of Tonkawa, Oklahoma; sister Carol Ann Matthews and husband Jim of Langley, Oklahoma; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Services were scheduled for 10:00 a.m., Monday, November 11th in the Tonkawa First United Methodist Church with Rev. Lois Bartley and Rev. Josh Reese officiating. Burial followed in the Blackwell Cemetery.

Casketbearers were Brian Hembree, Vince Lewis, Colton Wright, Rod Matthews, Mark Matthews, Mike Matthews. Serving as honorary casket-bearers were Holly Hembree, Hannah Hembree, Heidi Hembree, Henley Hembree, Linda Buettel, Vernice Bersche, Tina Williams, Deborah Matthews.

Memorials have been established in Hessel’s honor with Tonkawa Public Library, Tonkawa Lion’s Club, and, Blackwell Public Library c/o Roberts and Son Funeral Home, 120 W. Padon, Blackwell, Oklahoma 74631.