‘Don’t speak ill of the dead’
Last week I was informed of the passing of Bob Purdy. Bob was a longtime family friend and confidante. I was appalled when I read the article in the Press-Republican the day after his death which opened with numerous irrelevant items from Bob’s distant past, including innuendo and misleading news stories from decades ago that were no longer newsworthy. “Don’t speak ill of the dead” is an ancient code of common respect given to the departed. Though the Press-Republican countered many calls and emails of complaint it got from the public by saying that the article “was not a eulogy,” 24 hours after one’s death is a tasteless time frame for accusations against a man who was cleared of any charges.
Though the article mentioned Bob’s public service as Keene supervisor, the article did not mention how much time and energy Bob gave to the town of Keene as a resident, such as the many times he drove the ambulance or fought fires, or the years that he would make sure everyone in his small town had Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas presents. So many people knew these stories of his many kind acts that it would have been easy for the paper to learn of them and instead write a true human-interest story.
Bob was a man with a heart of gold. The town of Keene is a very special place, and last week’s mean-spirited article will not knock down the community’s spirit. Keene went right to work rebuilding hours after Tropical Storm Irene without knowing what government aid it would receive because, like Bob, those in the North Country look out for those in need. That is his legacy. The Purdy family will go on as Bob leaves behind a strong family and countless friends who will not let his memory be tarnished.