Mavis Purdy

Mavis Purdy

Saturday, April 9th, 1927 Sunday, September 20th, 2020

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Obituary for Mavis Maureen Purdy (Zuver)

Mavis Maureen Zuver was born April 9, 1927, in a little “company house” in Falls City, Oregon, the fourth child of Gladys May Hunter and her husband Fred Albert Zuver.

The Hunters were from a tiny ranching community in northeastern Oregon, but extended family and milder weather brought them to the Willamette Valley.

Fred was born and raised in Michigan, but he too had family in Polk County, some who had come out with Cobbs and Mitchell when the Michigan company set about working their timber holdings. He decided it was time to head west.

Fred and Gladys met, married, and started their family:

Neva (who later married Melvin Rose and lived in Valsetz for many years)

Alvin (who later married Marilyn Berry of Monmouth)

Lillian, known as “Tilly” (who later married Tom Gilmore)

And Mavis.

When she was nine months old, the family moved to Valsetz. These were times of frequent moves, often living in tents in logging camps – and then the Depression hit.

Mavis was a shy child with poor eyesight, but she learned to stay out of the way and read, thus developing a life-long love of books and reading.

When she was six years old, her father was killed in a logging accident, and for her mother to find work meant even more moves. She once figured she went to five or six different grade schools.

When Mavis was 10 years old, her mother found work for a widower on a farm between Gresham and Sandy. The farmer, Howard Wooden, and Gladys, decided to marry after a while., and Mavis acquired two step-brothers, Glen and Dick, and a step-sister, Arlene, who was just her age. Those two had all kinds of fun and got into all kinds of trouble together, which Mavis maintained was Arlene’s fault -- and probably was.

Living out the rest of the Depression and the War on the Farm, they had plenty to eat. The farm’s main crop was pickling cucumbers for a big company in Portland, and she always remembered hoeing and weeding what seemed like miles of them, and picking the scratchy prickly things at harvest time.

Mavis attended the Seventh-day Adventist school Columbia Academy in Battle Ground, Washington for her high school years, graduating in 1945.

After high school, she moved back to Valsetz to help her sister Neva with her kids, but Neva thought she should try her hand at a cookhouse job in one of the nearby logging camps, and helped her get a job there. So the shy girl fresh out of church school became the cookhouse flunky at the Lower Western logging camp. Now that was an education!

During this time, she started “seeing” a guy named Keith Purdy. She came to know his sister Letha, his two rambunctious younger brothers, Ozzie and Johnny, and even his dad, who ran a not-quite-legal radio station out of his closet. Keith wanted to get married. Mavis had been thinking about teaching school. She quit her flunky job and went off to Walla Walla College and got her teaching certificate, and was assigned to a school. She found out she’d rather feed loggers than face a room of 1st graders. She decided to marry Keith Purdy.

Mavis and Keith were married on May 10, 1948. This happened to be the day before his 26th birthday, so ever afterward he would give a big sigh and tell how his wedding night had aged him a year. They bought a little house in Falls City that year, about half a mile from the house where Mavis was born. They began to add to it a bit and fill it up with their five children:

Leslee Ellen 1949, Dwight Ervin 1950, Laurel Lynn 1952, Rebecca Gail 1956 and Kenneth Lyle 1959.

Keith spent most of his working years at the mill in Valsetz or on the millpond where he was the longtime tugboat operator. She was always busy; sewing and patching, gardening and canning. She rarely complained, even about having one of those last outhouses in Falls City, “but it has electricity!” at least.

In the summertime, she took her kids and whatever neighbor kids could squeeze into the station wagon out to pick whichever crop was on to earn a few dollars for school clothes, and then she might take them shopping too. Sometimes she was the row boss, and you better pick clean! Keith had to fend for himself for awhile when campmeeting rolled around, because the station wagon was loaded to the gills with kids, clothes and supplies food and Grandma “Woody” and off they’d go to Gladstone to campmeeting for ten days.

Somewhere along the way, she got over being shy. You could leave her in a waiting room of strangers and she’d end up knowing everything about their problems and their family. She became an advisor, mentor, and surrogate mom to many. She put her teaching skills to work in time, both as a teacher’s aide at the Falls City SDA Elementary School, and Bible class teacher at her church. She helped at the Food Bank. She took care of shut ins.

Mavis loved the Lord, her family, old friends, books, her church family, peanut butter M&M’s, the dogs, her “radical left-wing talk shows”. The cats, a good debate (argument), and playing Scrabble – not necessarily in that order.

In spite of many health challenges, Mavis lived on in that same little house in Falls City for 72 years. She was able to do so because both Dwight and Laurel lived on site to help out. She was preceded in death by all of her siblings, her daughter Rebecca in 1975, husband Keith in 1992, daughter Leslee in 2009, and granddaughter Tracie in 2015.

She is survived by daughter Laurel Purdy, sons Dwight Purdy and Ken (Tena) Purdy of Salem and their adult children Sydney, Danielle, Caitlin, and Ben Purdy. Grandson Mark (Tracy) Davis of Albany, Great-grandson Jason Davis, Great-granddaughter Alyssa Van Alstine and a large extended family.

No service is planned at this time.

Mavis knew that her time on earth was coming to an end and she was more than ready to sleep till Jesus comes back to get her.

“For the Lord himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, and the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

1 Thessalonians 4:16,17

If you feel inclined to honor her memory with a donation, choose any reputable charity that feeds the hungry, doctors the suffering, and/or shelters the unprotected.

Dallas mortuary Tribute Center is caring for the family.

To plant a memorial tree in honor of Mavis Maureen Purdy (Zuver), please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
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