John Vernon Purvis


John Vernon Purvis, 94, of Mayflower passed away December 17, 2017.  He was born January 25, 1923 in Throckmorton, Texas, to John M. and Alma O. Gilbert Purvis.  He grew up in Kilgore, graduating from Kilgore High School before enlisting into the Army Air Corp and serving in Europe during World War II.  He was the Crew Chief for the B-17 bomber “Nora,” among others.  He was very proud of his accomplishments of keeping Nora and her crew flying 25 missions without a breakdown. He also served in Russia, France and Africa. 

He retired from the Air Force in 1966 after serving in various locations in the United States as an instructor, and Japan.  They bought a farm and moved to Center Ridge, Ark., and finally to Mayflower where he and Catherine bought a house on Lake Conway.  They enjoyed fishing and dachshund dogs.  He had several in his life time, each one named “Freddy.”  His favorite was one that loved to fish as much as he did.

John was preceded in death by his parents and only sister, Louise Carroll of Center Ridge, AR and his wife of 52 years, Catherine Johnson Purvis.

He is survived by dear friends and caregivers Terry and Judy McGuire and their family, of Mayflower, Ark., and countless friends around Mayflower, Center Ridge and Morrilton as well as golfers in central Arkansas. To keep busy he helped Rick and Janice Bates of Mayflower in their Bait Shop business and Mark Brown at Pine Valley Golf Course in Sherwood, Ark., for years.  Through those years he met and became friends with hundreds of people.

John loved the Lord, and his church (Solgohachia Baptist Church).  He enjoyed golfing and fishing immensely as well as teaching others the game.  He played for over 70 years and got his first hole in one after 50 years of playing.  He was an avid reader especially the newspaper and WWII history books.

Visitation will be Thursday, Dec. 21, at 1 p.m. with funeral services at 2 p.m. at Griffin Leggett Funeral Home, 1751 Dave Ward Drive, Conway, Bro. Dennis Corder officiating. He will be laid to rest beside his wife, Catherine Johnson Purvis, at Mayflower Cemetery following the service.

An online guestbook is available at

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