Cover photo for Gene Purdy's Obituary
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1953 Gene 2024

Gene Purdy

January 26, 1953 — January 12, 2024



William “Gene” Purdy, 70 of Four Oaks, NC, peacefully passed away on Friday, January 12, 2024, with his beautiful wife, “his Shirley Faye, and doll” as he so lovingly called her of 53 years by his side. Gene is survived by his son, Toby Gene Purdy and wife Jennifer, daughter, Tonya King and husband Adam, brother, Michael Purdy and wife Ruth, brother-in-law, Carlie Barbour, and his precious grandchildren, Gabriel, Noah, Courtney, Lizzie, Tristen, Wesley, and great-granddaughter, Brooke. Also left to cherish Gene’s memory are several special cousins, nieces, nephews, and cherished friend David Massengill.

Gene was preceded in death by his father, Fred Purdy, mother, Mary Ella Pollard, brothers, Richard, Andy, and Joe Purdy and special cousin, Wayne Faison.

Gene, who was a very gifted and talented auto mechanic, enjoyed working with his hands. God blessed him at a young age to be able to diagnose a car by the sound of the engine. Gene had a strong work ethic that started at age 12 when he began working in the tobacco field in the summer to have enough money to buy clothes for the upcoming school year. After working several years and learning different trades, God would answer Gene’s prayer of becoming self-employed and eventually retiring after a fulfilling 22-year career of driving a rollback truck and hauling salvaged cars.

Gene and Shirley built a life together in their little home in Four Oaks where they lived for 53 years. Their home was always filled with love, lots of laughter and so many cherished memories. Their greatest joy in life besides their children was their grandchildren where Gene lovingly embraced being a Papa. Gene would make his best effort to attend every event that his grandkids were involved in. It was important to Gene that his grandchildren knew that they had his support. Gene never wasted the opportunity to tell his family how much he loved them and how proud of them that he was. He knew the importance of being present and was an encourager to others.

Not only did Gene have a great love for his family, but he also had a great love for Jesus! He loved going to church and loved his church family at New Life Fellowship where he attended. Once Gene was too sick to attend church in person, he and Shirley would watch the online service together. He missed having in-person fellowship, but he never stopped worshiping Jesus even if he had to do it from the living room of his home.

Gene never knew a stranger, so it would be no surprise to find him talking about cars which usually led to talking about Jesus or vice versa. Gene had a gift of meeting people right where they were without passing any judgment and encouraging them no matter what their walk was in life. Gene not only talked about the importance of putting Christ at the center of your life, but he also modeled what it looked like to have a Christ-centered walk. Gene had a servant’s heart that always desired to help others especially those who didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Gene’s last request to his family was to celebrate his passing because he would no longer be suffering from the effects of cancer. He used his last days to continue to minister and encourage his others to pray and ask God for the joy and peace that only God can give. Gene fought a long and hard battle because he said his family gave him so much to live for! What a true testimony of his love for his family!

A Celebration of Gene’s Life will be held on Tuesday, January 16, 2024, at New Life Fellowship Church with a visitation from 1:00 to 1:45 pm and the Celebration Service beginning at 2:00 pm. Officiating Gene’s service will be Pastor Rick Overman, Pastor and special cousin, Brian Faison, and Pastor Sylvia Rackley.  Interment to follow at Barbour’s Chapel Church Cemetery.

 Memorials may be made to New Life Fellowship Church of 2777 NC Hwy 210, Smithfield, NC 27577. The family also requested memorials in Gene’s memory be sent to the SECU Hospice House at 426 Hospital Road, Smithfield, NC 27577. For those who would like to place a Brick in the CommWell Health Legacy Garden of Four Oaks, please follow the link

A service of Rose & Graham Funeral Home, Four Oaks.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gene Purdy, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, January 16, 2024

1:00 - 1:45 pm (Eastern time)

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Celebration of Life

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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