I’m sorry to tell everyone that Old Jules (Doyce M. Purcell, “Jack”) passed away last Tuesday, April 14, 2020. He was 76 years old.
He had a variety of health problems which increased and then stabilized over the last several years, but his heart was very weak and after another heart attack, he knew he had to try the next procedure recommended by his cardiologist.
Over the week of his hospital stay, he ended up testing negative for coronavirus, survived a risky heart catheterization, and had surgery to repair the blocked artery which he hadn’t known about. However, he was not strong enough to then survive the heart ablation that was recommended.
I last saw him March 23rd, just before the “shut down” of both our counties began. We were well aware we might not see each other again, but the worries at that time were to keep him protected from the virus.
He found the whole coronavirus situation extremely fascinating, as he had a background in both public health and emergency management and also a passion for history. He was really hoping he’d survive long enough to see how it all developed.
He recently bought himself a hand-held voice recorder, and spent several hours over the last two weeks recording all kinds of day-to-day commentary, poetry, and updates on what was happening during the hospital visit. I have not yet listened to all of this… probably there are items of interest that should have gone into this post.
I recorded one of his last phone conversations, which was all about Robert Frost, Kipling, and Archibald MacLeish. He was very much enjoying hearing recordings of Frost and MacLeish reading their poetry on YouTube while he was in the hospital.
One of his favorite poems was “IF” by Rudyard Kipling. He kept a copy of it in his wallet for many many years until it disintegrated, but always considered that poem to be a way of checking on his own spiritual progress, a compass of sorts. We recently discussed the problems with the ending of the poem, which makes it a bit off-putting in these modern times and less popular with most women. But he was pleased as could be that my granddaughter and I are memorizing it together.
He introduced me to a whole range of new music, for which I’ll always be grateful. John Prine, Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Leonard Cohen, Tom Russell, Nanci Griffith, Robert Earl Keen, Kris Kristofferson, and others. But he also had a passion for opera, and had season tickets to the Santa Fe Opera when he lived there.
He read all the time, in fact, he told me how he used to read a book while driving his commute from Socorro to Santa Fe. He always had a book with him when he ate at a restaurant, even if I was with him (in case I had to leave the table briefly he would have a book to read). He stocked two unofficial Little Free Libraries on the grounds of the VA campus where he lived. When he went to the hospital he took along a collection of Robert Frost’s poetry and Gabriel Garcia-Marquez’ Love in the Time of Cholera. He introduced me to several of his favorite authors, including Kurt Vonnegut and Terry Pratchett.
He spent many years searching for the Lost Adams Diggings gold mine, and while he never found the gold, he wouldn’t have traded the years of experiences related to the search for anything.
Y2K provided his next big adventure. He cashed in his retirement, bought land, and moved off the grid in anticipation of the end of the world as we know it. In doing so, he created his own y2k, but again, it was an experience he never regretted.
He spent several years studying and practicing energy work, was a Reiki Master, and had some successes as a healer. Several people called on him regularly for help with Hepatitis C (two complete cures that I remember), fibromyalgia symptoms, asthma attacks, panic attacks, and headaches. He was always amused that the results of what he did were undependable, shocked when the results were exactly what was intended, and mystified that people so frequently did not want healing. He was frequently impressed by the accuracy of the I Ching.
He self-published four books, two as paperbacks: The Lost Adams Diggings: Myth, Mystery and Madness, and Hell Bent for Santa Fe: The Texan-Santa Fe Expedition of 1841, and two as e-books, Desert Emergency Survival Basics (Heartache and Heartburn) and Poems of the New Old West: Cowboys, Casinos, Truckers, and Trotskyite Dogs. After he moved back to civilization, he enjoyed blogging on several different sites, but eventually quit blogging in favor of other activities. He participated in several forums and headed up a variety of Facebook groups. He had a lot of hobbies, most recently, wood-working– he refinished furniture and made canes, some of which he gave away to other veterans around the VA complex where he lived.
He leaves behind his most recent cats, Mr. Midnight and Miss Naiad. He always loved his cats, and frequently re-used cat names on succeeding generations of cats. Mr. Hydrox, Mehitabel, and the previous Miss Naiad, among others, will all welcome him if he sees them again. (His two cats have gone to loving friends).
It would be impossible to list his adventures, accomplishments, and skills. He frequently joked that if he were to write an autobiography, no one would believe it anyway. We have lost one of the greatest friends anyone could ever have, one of the most entertaining writers, and one of he kindest people I have ever known. He would remind us all to be grateful for every little thing. One of his affirmations was “I’m grateful for everything that’s happened, everything happening right now, and everything that’s going to happen.” Please remind yourself of that in his memory. And enjoy the music.
The Pilgrim by Kris Kristofferson
(Please excuse any layout errors or other mistakes in this entry. It’s been a long time since I used WordPress and I’m unable to preview the post).
Best wishes to everyone,
Oh, I’m so so sorry. Jack was one of my most trusted readers and I’ve always enjoyed immensely his posts. I’ve read one of his books, about that incredible trail adventure, and also gave it as a gift to my father-in-law, a personal hero of mine and a member of the greatest generation. We had a few interesting conversations about it; I’m sure Greg Dennis, who passed on a couple of years ago, would’ve enjoyed meeting Jack too. I hope you’re doing ok, and are safe and sound of health. It’d be great to learn more about this great man in the following months. Please keep in touch, Peace & Love to you and your loved ones, and Rest In Peace, my friend ‘Josephus Minimus.’
Thank you, Wesley, I appreciate your kind words. I have a wealth of material from his writings, so we’ll see whether any of it is appropriate for posting in the future. Take care- Jeanne
On Tue, Apr 21, 2020, 10:31 PM So Far From Heaven wrote:
> mandala56 posted: ” I’m sorry to tell everyone that Old Jules (Doyce M. > Purcell, “Jack”) passed away last Tuesday, April 14, 2020. He was 76 years > old. He had a variety of health problems which increased and then > stabilized over the last several years, but his heart was ver” >
Thanks for letting us know about Jules. I always enjoyed his posts as they contained wisdom even when he didn’t intend wisdom. His sense of humor was outstanding. I’m certain he left his footprints behind on many people throughout his life.
Thank you for this post. I had wondered what happened to “old Jules”. He was one of my first followers when I started blogging (10 years ago). I don’t think I was one of his first, but I was one of his most loyal.
I enjoyed his stories about his cats (and chickens) and getting along out in the middle of nowhere. I was relieved when he moved up to the Vet home as he went offline for a while and I thought he may have passed away out there in the desert.
I’m sorry to hear he’s gone, but I’m sure his spirit is somewhere, looking after stray cats in between prospecting.
Thanks so much for that tribute to a giant of a human in so many ways and letting us know of his walking on. So strange I had just been missing his posts here and had looked up the site to see what he was doing after I had taken a long break from blogging myself. I think I will go back to the beginning and read thru. RIP Jules you aren’t so far from heaven now. 🙏
I’m sorry to hear this, but grateful to know about it.
I always enjoyed Jules’ posts on his blog, but I didn’t know the background of his life. Thanks for this.
Thank you for this beautiful tribute to Old Jules. I have missed his writing and have thought about him sometimes. I liked his no-nonsense take on life.
Wow, where do I start. Something drew me in to read your post, twice! I was so inspired by the way Jack lived and led his own life. You inspired me to listen on you tube to his favorite musicians and to read “If”. AND I had to watch the trailer to “Love in the time of Cholera”.
This movie is now on by “to see” list.
Thank you Jeanne for sharing Jack’s story, I know I am one of many that enjoyed your written inspiration.
Even if I knew that his health was failing, I’m shocked and ever so sad to hear of his passing away. Thanks, Jeanne for letting me know. I will always remember him and our exchanges on WordPress fondly, and I’m sure – as far as I know him from these exchanges and from your narration here – that he will put his very own impression on the Great Beyond.
Fare the well, Old Jules – you’re missed, old friend,
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Always enjoyed reading his post. Old Jules had a life well lived. Rest In Peace.
Jeanne, what sad, sad news. Old Jules was such a great blogger and obviously a great person to know as you did. Thanks for keeping us up to date over the last few years as his health has deteriorated. I have a funny feeling that Old Jules will find a way to blog from wherever he is now. Wishing you all the very best for the future. Alan xx
Thank you, Alan, awfully good to hear from you. J
Thank you very much for posting this – it’s sad news. I’ve really enjoyed reading some of Old Jules’s posts on here from time to time – he had an idiosyncratic style and an eager mind. My condolences to everyone who knew him.
I’m sorry to hear of Jack’s passing, an interesting man with an intriguing mind. I was most intrigued by what he referred to as the “Coincidence Coordinators.” I always enjoyed his posts and the comments he left on mine.
Thank you for letting us know and for your tribute to him.
Farewell, Jack. The world won’t be the same without you.
I just read this again. Jack was an amazing guy. I sometimes imagined him having a talk show. I could see him taking his guests down unforeseen paths to the delight of the audience. Probably too public for his tastes, but he would have been skilled at finding connections and implications from people’s stories, as well as telling stories of his own. “That reminds me of when…..”
One of a kind. You are one of the few readers here who actually got to spend time with him.