Cover photo for John  Francis Purgar's Obituary
John  Francis Purgar Profile Photo
1942 John 2023

John Francis Purgar

January 1, 1942 — August 15, 2023

Johnson City – John Francis Purgar, age 81, died in Durham, North Carolina on August 15, 2023. He was born on January 1, 1942 to the late Stanley and Nora Purgar.


John grew up in Nassau County, New York and graduated from St. Michael’s College in Vermont. He subsequently joined the Navy, serving the bulk of his term in Norfolk, Virginia. John was a pilot before anything else – whether in the Navy, as a captain for Eastern Airlines, or as a flight instructor for America Trans Air – he never met a plane he didn’t love. He made his home in Miami, Florida for over thirty years with his beloved wife Noma. After his retirement from aviation, he embraced his new hometown in Johnson City, where he pursued his love of music by volunteering at the Birthplace of Country Music museum, attending countless concerts, and studying Bluegrass at East Tennessee State University (ETSU). He was also an avid fan and attendee of ETSU women’s basketball games. His greatest personal connection at the end of his life was with his Romeo club (retired old men eating out), where he met friends who became his brothers. John Purgar never met a stranger and loved to make people laugh.


John is survived by his daughter Page Purgar, son-in-law Steve McDonald, and granddaughter, Marleigh Purgar-McDonald, as well as his sister Noreen, his brother Stanley, and their families.


John was preceded in death by his wife Noma Burnett Purgar and two of his brothers, Joe and Kevin.


A celebration of his life will be held at a later date in Johnson City.


In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.


The Purgar family is under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service. Online condolences: www.hallwynne.com – select obituaries.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Francis Purgar, please visit our flower store.

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