- November 22, 1914 - April 20, 2017
- New Orleans, Louisiana
of George's Passing
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5100 Pontchartrain Blvd
New Orleans, LA 70124
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G. Frank Purvis, New Orleans lawyer and businessman, died April 20, 2017 at his home in New Orleans. He was 102. He was preceded in death by his first wife Winston Wendt Purvis; his daughter Virginia Purvis Freshwater; his parents G. Frank Purvis and Mamie Wumble Purvis; and his siblings Evelyn Norman and Edward C. Abell. He is survived by his wife Helen N. Purvis; his son G. Frank Purvis III (Beth) and daughter Winston Wendt Purvis; nephew Edward C. Abell Jr. (Elaine); four stepchildren, Karen O. Edmunds (Ollie), Kristin O. Capshaw (Ben), Frank S. Oser III (Lisette), and Eric R. Oser (Loranne); four grandchildren, William P. Freshwater (Christie), Virginia P. Bark (Kenneth), Morgan F. Purvis, Hunter D. Purvis; and ten step grandchildren, Anne Edmunds, John O. Edmunds III (Rachel), Erica C. Brooks (Clay), Benjamin C. Capshaw (Kristin), Frances S. Oser, Walter M. Oser, F. Jefferson Oser, Ellen H. Oser, Caroline E. Purdy (Ryan) and Christopher F. Edmunds (Cristina).
Mr. Purvis was born Nov 22, 1914 in Rayville, Louisiana. After primary schooling in Rayville he attended Kemper Military Academy where he was First in his Class. He received his law degree from LSU in 1935 at age 20 and was awarded the Order of the Coif. At LSU he was a member of the Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon social fraternity, and Omicron Delta Kappa National Honor Society.
He practiced Law in Rayville and served as an Attorney for the Louisiana Secretary of State, Ex Officio Insurance Commissioner, and Special Assistant to the Attorney General before volunteering for the Navy in August 1941. Called to active duty on Pearl Harbor day, he became an instructor in the V7 program at Northwestern University. He requested sea duty and served as an anti-submarine officer on active service in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. After the war, he was appointed Deputy Louisiana Insurance Commissioner and then Special Assistant Attorney General. In those positions he was responsible for drafting the Louisiana Insurance Code that was adopted in 1948, and also assisted in drafting the Insurance Law for Puerto Rico.
Mr. Purvis joined Pan American Life Insurance in 1949 as Assistant General Counsel. He performed several other duties during his time at Pan American before being promoted to President and CEO in 1964 becoming the first Louisiana-born President of PALIC. He later became Chairman of the Board and remained on the Board until 2008. The Pan American Life Building and the Intercontinental Hotel were constructed under his leadership and stand as monuments to his legacy. During his time at Pan American, he was chair of the largest association of life insurance companies in the U.S. as well as the largest health insurance association.
During his long life Mr. Purvis has been honored by numerous organizations and served on a multitude of boards and commissions. He served as Chair of the Dock Board for the Port of New Orleans, the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, and the Tuberculosis Association of New Orleans. He was President of the New Orleans Federation of Churches, the YMCA and the Council for a Better Louisiana, and was a member of the Chamber of Commerce and International House. In the 1990’s an Insurance Chair was established in his name at the University of Louisiana Lafayette.
Always interested in education, he served on the LSU Board of Supervisors as well as the Loyola University New Orleans Board of Trustees. In addition, he served as a professor of Law at LSU and taught Insurance Law for a number of years in Tulane’s University College. He received the prestigious Integritas Vitae Award in 1991 from Loyola University New Orleans and was honored by the United Teachers of New Orleans as Man of the Year. He was awarded the Order of Balboa from the President of the Republic of Panama and received a special Honor from Pope John Paul II.
He enjoyed playing golf and gin rummy and was a member of the New Orleans Country Club, the Boston Club, the Pickwick Club and several Carnival Organizations.
The family is grateful to the staff at Passages Hospice, and with special appreciation to his caregiver, Harold Martinez.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend a visitation to be held at The Most Holy Name of Jesus Church, 6367 St. Charles Avenue on Thursday April 27th from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated beginning at 12:00 p.m. with private interment in Metairie Cemetery to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of G. Frank Purvis, Jr. may be made to the charity of your choice.