Danwin M. Purdy, known to those who loved him as Captain Dan, Dan the Man and The GOM, died on June 7 at the Health Park Medical Center in Fort Myers, Fla.
Dan’s passions were his wife first, any kind of fishing, and good country music. A strong individualist all 79 years of his life, he began his journey in an orphanage but through hard work and sheer determination, he obtained a college education and founded several successful businesses.
As the owner of Jay Construction, he built many homes on Cape Cod and the Vineyard and he encouraged and supported his wife’s real estate business, Sandpiper Realty, since its founding 42 years ago. He chose to retire early from construction and pursue his love of fishing by starting a charter business in the Florida Keys, spending the next 25 years piloting his flats boat through the back country, patiently guiding his sports through the excitement of fighting a tarpon or the fun of hooking a mangrove snapper for dinner.
He was proud to be a Buckeye, a Marine, and a Mason and perhaps especially to have been able to actively give his time to The Genesis Fund, supporting children with birth defects, for over 20 years by coordinating the boats and captains for the John Havlicek Fishing Tournament. He was a member of the Federated Church but believed one could worship any where and any time.
In addition to his wife, Sharon Smith Purdy, he is survived by his son, Danwin Jay, his daughter, Kimberly and her husband, Gordon and by one granddaughter, Ashley Jane, or AJ as Dan insisted was really her name. Sadly, his daughter Pamela predeceased him last year.
Despite his curmudgeonly persona, his sweet soul will be greatly missed by his large extended family, including very special nieces and nephews, and by an untold number of devoted friends, something that constantly amazed him. And finally, Dan surprised himself by developing a strong attachment to Sherry’s small dog, Piper, who provided happy companionship during his last difficult year.
Although he loved all flowers, the National Kidney Foundation is a much more appropriate vehicle to remember this unique man. Dan requested no memorial service, just a party at some time in the future where family and friends can gather to share lots of love and laughter and some good bourbon.