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Bob Purkey, Former Virginia Beach Delegate and ODU Alumnus Died Feb. 16, at 84.

By Betsy Hnath

Harry R. "Bob" Purkey, former Virginia Beach delegate and Old Dominion University alumnus '68, died on Feb. 16. He was 84.

Born in Parsons, W.Va., Purkey moved with his family to the Norfolk, Virginia area where he graduated from Maury High School, according to an obituary published in the Virginian Pilot.

Following graduation, Purkey could not afford to go to college full time, so he worked days for eight years while attending night classes at what was then the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary.

By the time Purkey earned his bachelor's degree in business in 1968, W&M - Norfolk Division was Old Dominion College. It became Old Dominion University in 1969. He remained a proud University graduate through the years.

"Bob Purkey personified the spirit of Old Dominion University: He was steadfast, service-minded and had a brilliant mind," said Old Dominion President John R. Broderick. "He never missed an opportunity to share his love of his alma mater in the 20-plus years I knew him, and we are immensely proud of his life's accomplishments. He will be sorely missed by many at Old Dominion."

As a young college student, Purkey was energized by one of the first political campaigns of a professor at the time, G. William Whitehurst. Purkey then became involved in local, and then statewide, politics.

In 1970, Purkey moved to Virginia Beach, and joined numerous community and civic organizations. As a Republican, Purkey ran for, and won, the House of Delegates for the 82nd house district in 1985.

He served as a member of the General Assembly from 1986 - 2013, and was once the chairman of the House Finance Committee. He also served as a member, for several years, of the commerce and labor and science and technology committees.

Purkey is survived by his brother-in-law Richard Hermit and nephew Randy Hermit; sister- in- law Mary Firing, and her children Susan Stroehm, Fritz Firing, Jr. and Eric Firing. He is also survived by children Harry Jr., and his wife Nancy Purkey; Charlotte, and her husband Barry Dorans; and Greg, his wife Monica Celmer Purkey and granddaughters Nina and Charlotte.

In lieu of flowers, a donation to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore or the Virginia Beach SPCA is requested.

The family will receive visitors on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home Great Neck Chapel, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The funeral service will be held at the same location on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, at 1 p.m. Burial thereafter will be private for family members. Condolences may be offered to the family at www.hollomon-brown.com.

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