Orrville — Colonel Patricia Ann Purdy, USAF Ret., age 87, of Orrville, passed away Tuesday, December 26, 2023 surrounded by her family, at the Apostolic Christian Home in Rittman, following a period of declining health.
Patricia was born on November 19, 1936, in Rittman, Ohio, to the late William and Dorothy (Barnhart) Purdy, and graduated from Northwestern High School with the class of 1954. She began her nursing education at Mercy Hospital, graduating as a registered nurse. Patricia went on to receive her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Case Western, and a master’s degree in Human Relations from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri while serving in the United States Air Force.
Pat began her civilian nursing career working at Mercy Hospital and University hospitals. She served as a nurse in the United States Air Force from 1965-1993. Pat’s military career took her across the country and around the world. Her titles and responsibilities ranged from a Staff nurse, both in the US and overseas, to a Flight Nurse, Flight Nurse Instructor and Flight Nurse Examiner with the 57th Air Evacuation Squadron. Later she fulfilled the duties as the first woman Wing Chief at the Air Command and Staff College. She was present when Vietnam Prisoners of War were released to the Philippines and the Iranian Hostages to Wiesbaden, Germany.
In 1993, Pat retired from the Air Force as a Colonel after 28 years of service. Her commitment to the care and the welfare of others continued after her retirement. Patricia became the Director of Nursing at the Wayne County Schools Career Center. She remained a tireless supporter of military veterans, including serving as a volunteer guardian for the WWII Honor Flights to Washington, DC. She was also a sought- after speaker for Memorial Day and Veterans Day Services and spoke at local public schools’ Career Days advocating on behalf of military service.
Her many civic contributions include several international mission trips with her church. In 2001, Pat received an invitation from the American Red Cross to accompany family members of victims of the 9/11 hijacking in Shanksville, Pennsylvania on their initial visit to the crash site. Patricia was a member of 555th Honors Detachment and the Wayne County Sub-Committee for Governor Taft’s Women’s Veterans. She worked on the Smithville Veterans Memorial, and on the 2008 Hall of Fame for Northwestern.
Patricia loved running and collecting antiques. She enjoyed hiking Pikes Peak and the Grand Canyon. Patricia was a phenomenal aunt who took her nieces and nephews on trips throughout the United States and around the world.
Surviving are three sisters, Wanda Hockenberry, Mary Alice (Gary) Shade, Becky (Dan) Shilling; twelve nieces and nephews, Rob, Steve, David, and Jon Purdy, Randy and Ron Hockenberry, Renee McConahay, Terry Shade, Dorene Clark, Dan and Matthew Shilling, and Jennifer Henderhan; numerous great nieces and nephews; and many lifelong Air Force friends, nursing friends, high school friends, church friends and other close friends.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by brother, Robert Purdy; nephew, Rodney Hockenberry; brother-in-law, Don Hockenberry; and sister-in-law, Linda Purdy.
Friends may call on January 4, 2024, at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, 7605 E Pleasant Home Road, Sterling, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Services will be held at 11:00 am on January 5, 2024, at the church, with Pastor Stephen Olsen officiating. Burial will take place at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman, on January 5, 2024, at 12:45 pm where military rites will be observed.
Memorials may be made to Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare 1900 Akron Road, Wooster, OH 44691 www.lifecarehospice.org, Paws of Honor, 1158 Professional Drive, Ste G, Williamsburg, Virginia 23185, https://pawsofhonor.org/#, or a charity of the donor’s choice  .
Auble Funeral Home in Orrville is handling the arrangements. Online registry and expressions of condolence may be made at www.aublefuneralhome.com.