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Sadly one of Oklahoma Anthropological Society's
most admired and loved members, Tom Purdin,
passed away October 1, 2013, at the age of 67

He will be remembered as a stalwart volunteer and organizer who gave lots of time and talent to
Oklahoma archaeology. His presence will be
missed at OAS meetings and digs

His contribution to Oklahoma Archeology is
greatly appreciated.  He will also be remembered as
a gifted craftsman creating bone handled flint chipped knives.  

Thomas A. Purdin, Muskogee, a stalwart member of the Oklahoma Anthropological Society, passed last autumn after a brief illness.  Purdin, 67, died Oct. 1, 2013. Services and burial was Oct. 7, 2013 at Fort Gibson National Cemetery.  A decorated Vietnam Air Force sergeant, Tom followed military service with college and long-time employment as an advisor at Talking Leaves Job Corp. in Tahlequah.

“He bragged so much about the kids he counseled who had gone on to be successful,” said his friend Connie Masters of Eufaula. “I think that was his proudest achievement.”

Tom and Connie joined OAS in 2005. They became constant volunteers at OAS events. He served as president of OAS chapters in McAlester and Tahlequah; she served as vice president. They spearheaded a major cleanup of the Lee Creek Ceremonial Mound near Short. They organized an Echoes of the Past Archeological Festival at Echo Ridge Campground, at Lake Eufaula.

They are among the few who worked steadily at OAS archeological certification, recently earning certificates as Level 2 lab technicians, Level 1 and 2 crew members, and Level 1 and 2 surveyors. They volunteered at many archeological digs in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas.
“I know he loved working with all the archeologists, especially Richard Drass and Lee Bement,” Connie said.

Purdin was a Civil War reenactor, serving as a major in the Confederate army although he also performed as a Union soldier when needed. He participated in reenactments at the Gettysburg battlefield site in Pennsylvania.

He was a sutler, selling apparel and equipment at Oklahoma pioneer day reenactments. A gifted craftsman, he created bone handled, flint chipped knives that were as sharp as they were attractive.