Beth Elaine (Miller) Purcell

Beth Elaine (Miller) Purcell died Friday May 12, 2023.
She was the first born child of E. Woodrow Miller and Elizabeth Stouffer Miller of Wabash. She enjoyed an idyllic childhood with her siblings Susan, Tom, Danny and Marianne, dozens of cousins and scores of friends under the watchful eyes of loving grandparents and numerous aunts and uncles. She was educated at North Manchester College and the Ball State School of nursing in Indiana, commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps and assigned to Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego where she chiefly cared for young Marines injured in the battles of Southeast Asia.
It was in San Diego where she met Dave, also a Navy LTJG who immediately fell in love with her and was to become her lifelong companion and husband. They settled in St. Louis where Beth took a job at Barnes Hospital in the cardio-thoracic surgical intensive care unit. It was there and subsequently in the recovery room that she participated for the next four decades in miraculous developments of care beginning with valve replacements and coronary artery bypass grafts, through heart and lung transplants. She received further nursing training both at Barnes and at Webster University School of Nursing. Beth was always the trusted and competent R.N. with the warm blanket, smile and assuring voice.
Also at Barnes, Beth gave birth to three daughters who would follow in her footsteps as compassionate caregivers.
The family settled in a Kirkwood home where they have lived for 47 years. Beth has been fully engaged as a mom and has delighted in travels throughout the Americas and Europe but most especially to San Diego and her old home town of Wabash. She has been an active member of Kirkwood United Methodist Church for over 40 years as well as numerous clubs. She loved her garden, her home, music and friends rooting for the Redbirds and was a doting grandma.
Complaining of abdominal pain, Beth was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the Siteman Center in July, 2021. She received chemo and radiation therapies over the following six months but transitioned to home hospice in February of 2022. She was cared for by family with the assistance of Vitas Hospice and Senior Home Care and the support of hundreds of friends and prayer warriors.
She left us here on May 12 to join her own mom and dad, brothers, Tom and Danny and sister Marianne. She is survived by her sister Suzy, husband Dave, daughters Megan, Jody and Erica (Eike), and grandkids Oskar and Lily. Dearly beloved and sorely missed, but now gone home.
Services will be 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 24, 2023, at Grandstaff-Hentgen Funeral Service, 1241 Manchester Ave., Wabash, with David Phillips officiating. Friends may call from 9:30-11:00 a.m. Wednesday at the funeral home. Burial will be in Friends Cemetery, Wabash.


Posted on 2023 May 23