FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – People who met Vivian Purvis are likely to remember her infectious laugh. Her spunky spirit. Her sense of humor. Her zest for life.
Vivian turned 103 years old on November 16 last year. She passed away February 7.
WANE 15 told Vivian’s story in 2020 when she was one of the four Remarkable Women finalists. Vivian was highlighted again in October 2022 as the oldest Fort4Fitness Fall Festival participant.
Born in November 1919, Vivian grew up on a farm in northwest Indiana. She learned how to give back from her parents and mother-in-law.
“Mother and dad helped everyone. It started as a child in an old country church. My mother was one of the biggest workers and I became a Purvis and my mother-in-law was a big part of the work of the church,” Vivian said in 2020.
Vivian married Harry Purvis and moved to Fort Wayne in 1940. After the war, he worked as a pharmacist in New Haven. Vivian worked in the superintendent’s office for East Allen County Schools.
When she retired in 1992, after 34 years of service, the Indiana legislature passed a resolution recognizing her.
Vivian and Harry were some of the first residents at Lutheran Life Villages when the facility opened 30 years ago. She’s lived in the same independent living apartment the entire time. In the last three decades, she’s spent thousands of hours addressing birthday cards for other residents, volunteering in the office, working with kids in the Children’s Village, playing the organ and piano at chapel, organizing other volunteers to bring residents in wheelchairs to the service, and scheduling the guest minister for the Friday service from one of the Lutheran Life Villages members churches. She also served several terms as president of the auxiliary.
In 2018, Lutheran Life Villages even created the “Vivian Purvis Impact Award” to give annually to someone who upholds the mission of Lutheran Life Villages. Vivian was the first recipient.
“That was quite an honor. Have the right attitude. Think of other people more than yourself. I think my volunteering over the years has much to do with that,” Vivian said.
Vivian also loved taking bus trips with Land Cruise around the region and United States.
Vivian was a great-grandmother to three, one of whom is named Vivian. In 2020, she shared her advice for the next generation.
“Try to enjoy life and do the things that please them, like I have done. It’s important to love life,” Vivian said.
Visitation will be February 16 from 4 pm to 8 pm at Harper’s Community Funeral Home in New Haven. A second visitation will start at noon on February 17 in the Lutheran Life Villages Chapel, followed by a funeral service at 1 pm.
Memorials can be made to Lutheran Life Villages or Bethlehem Lutheran Church.