May 27, 1944 — Nov. 6, 2023
Wendy May Elizabeth Purslow, 79, of Ashland, passed away peacefully on Nov. 6 with her family at her side.
Wendy is survived by her husband Harry, daughter Vicki (Chris), and son Clifford (Lili), as well as grandchildren Andrew, Alyssa, Ashley, and Emily. Her surviving family in England includes sisters Judith (Wanda) and Penelope (Nick), brother Anthony (Jane), and cherished nieces and nephews.
She was born to Cyril and Mary Gibbons at their home in Oxford, England, on May 27, 1944. Wendy had fond memories of summers at the beach in Torquay, Devon, with Grandma and Grandad Yardella. Each day upon returning from the beach, she looked forward to teatime — especially when there was Devonshire cream. Although she grew up with food rationing still in effect from World War II, her family their food budget stretch with careful planning and their vegetable garden.
After attending Botley Primary School, Matthew Arnold Secondary Modern, and Notre Dame Girls School, Wendy enrolled in the nursing program at Oxford University.
Breaking her ankle while working at the hospital changed her life. Rethinking her career choice, Wendy joined the Ministry of Defense, where she shared a desk with the young U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Harry Purslow. She called him “the love of my life.” The family approved, saying Harry “fit in well.”
Nine months later, after a five-month engagement, they were married at St. John Vianney in Wantage, England. The reception was held at the family’s pub, the Bell Inn, Grove.
After a weekend honeymoon in London, Wendy flew to California, two weeks ahead of Harry, meeting his family for the first time.
The couple resided in San Leandro, California. With two grown children, Wendy returned to school and earned degrees in history and English at Cal State Hayward and a teaching credential from Holy Names College. The couple moved to Sacramento in 1989. Wendy loved teaching elementary school in both San Leandro and West Sacramento. A “looper,” she taught second, fourth and fifth grades before retiring.
In 2004, she and Harry moved to Ashland to be close to Vicki and Emily.
Wendy was an innately curious person with an insatiable desire to learn and to teach. She loved people, and people loved her. In addition to her teaching career, her volunteer work proved educational and provided other outlets for Wendy to serve her community. As a volunteer for the Rogue Valley Genealogical Society, Wendy helped many people trace their ancestral heritage. A master gardener, Wendy was frequently found at the Master Gardener booth at the Ashland Growers Market, problem-solving and sharing advice with other gardeners. A lover of the arts, she also enjoyed volunteering for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Tudor Guild for many years, working in the gift shop.
The family appreciates the care Wendy received from local physicians Drs. Rudy Greene, Patrick Honsinger, and Yasmin Maldonado, along with OHSU Drs. Akram Khan and Sherie Gause.
There will be a celebration of Wendy’s life sometime next spring.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in her memory to Oregon Health & Science University’s Pulmonary Clinic at donate.ohsufoundation.org/wendy or Providence Home and Community Care in Medford.
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