Photography

Pastor Emeritus Lester P Purham

March 6, 1941 ~ October 18, 2021 (age 80)

Obituary

Lester Paul Purham was born on March 6, 1941, in Kerrville, Tennessee, to the union of Booker T. and Louise Purham. Pastor Purham was born a twin with his sister, Minnie Jean, who died at three days old. He was the fifth child of thirteen siblings and was long considered the “baby boy” until his little brother Jerome was born many years later. His mother often remarked that of all her sons, he was her most good-looking. He was surrounded by an extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins. Pastor Purham was educated in Covington, Tennessee. He attended Frazier High School, where he was a member of the basketball team. One season, he made the final winning shot and clinched the tournament title. This made him a Big Man on Campus and a girl magnet. He was a member of a graduating class of 88 students. He and his brother, Wendell, were close friends, always engaging in hijinks such as knocking on the neighbor’s door with one playing “dumb” and the other one playing “deaf.” He also worked a great deal as a child, walking miles to the field to pick cotton. He learned the value of money early, and if he went to sleep and you stole a quarter from his pocket, he would know. Nobody was going anywhere until it was returned. Post graduation, Pastor Purham joined The Great Migration and worked in Chicago in a variety of jobs. He sent his little sisters, Ethel and Ernestine, prom dresses for junior and senior prom. He purchased their first high-heeled shoes. He also schooled them in comporting themselves appropriately when they, too, moved to Chicago to begin adulthood. He gave them safety tips, transportation instructions, and according to his sister, Ernestine, very useful dating tips that helped her maintain high standards and integrity. Pastor Purham was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1963, where he served for two years. His tenure ended after he survived a stray bullet that was stopped by a Bible he had in his pocket. While serving at a military base in Belton, Texas, he met and married Lady Clara Mae Collins on October 30, 1966. To this union, four children were born: Jaqueline, Leslie, Kassandra, and Kim. This loving family affectionately welcomed his grandnephew as the son he always wanted, Avery. Setting the tone for kinship and connection, his home was a welcome hearth to all who visited, fostering engaging conversations with siblings, nieces, nephews, and friends. Individuals were always welcome to worship with him and he was a great supporter of his brothers who maintained their own ministries. He studied diligently and graduated from Moody Bible Institute in 1969. The work ethic cultivated in childhood followed him into adulthood. He proudly worked for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) for 30 years, providing a solid foundation for his family. After retiring from the CTA, Pastor Purham joined Continental Airlines, which offered him and his wife great opportunities for national and global travel. In this, he and Sister Purham delighted in traveling with Caleb, their first-born grandson, giving him early exposure to the world at large, including China and Hawaii. Pastor Purham was passionate about The Word, his family, his health, and hard work. For most of his adult life, he was an avid runner, long-distance cyclist, and was well versed in natural health remedies. He worked and retired from several jobs in the transportation industry that included airplanes, buses, and urban rail. He was your typical protective dad who was tight with his cash, except for when it came to his grandkids. Pastor’s main passion was ministry. He supported and played an active role in building several churches, including King of Glory COGIC, under the leadership of the late Bishop Shepard Little; Miracle Revival Center, under Bishop Willie Chambliss; and Liberty Temple COGIC, under Superintendent Robert East, prior to pastoring his own congregation, New Testament of Faith COGIC, for 16 years. After leading his own flock, Pastor Purham became an active Senior Associate Elder at Prayer Tower COGIC, under the leadership of Bishop Warren Dorris, and at Holy Redeemer International COGIC, under the leadership of Bishop Sedgwick Daniels. There, he was recognized as Man of the Year 2021, celebrating his fidelity to the Kingdom of God. On Monday, October 18, 2021, the Lord called Pastor Lester Paul Purham to his heavenly reward. He was preceded in death by his parents, Booker and Louise Purham; his wife, Lady Clara Purham; daughter, Jacquelyn Purham; and siblings, Virgi Windham, Wendell Purham, Robert Purham, Barbara Hayes, and Jerome Purham. Pastor Purham leaves to cherish his memory: his sisters, Lucille Moore and Ernestine Stewart; a brother, Louis Purham; daughters, Debbie Maben Bond (Nelson), Leslie R. Purham, Kassandra D. Purham Andrews (Alfred), and Kimberly P. Watts (Leonard); a son, Avery Purham (Quaneshia); six grandchildren, Skyler Bond, Caleb B. Purham, Lena Watts, Levi Watts, Nasir Purham, and Nahla Purham; and a host of nieces and nephews. Pastor Purham used the Word of God to instruct him on how to live. His favorite scripture was Psalm 37:37: “Mark the perfect man and behold the upright: For the end of that man is peace.”

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Services

Wake
Sunday
October 31, 2021

4:00 PM
Prayer Tower COGIC
500 Stryker Ave
Joliet, IL 60436

Funeral Service
Sunday
October 31, 2021

5:00 PM
Prayer Tower COGIC
500 Stryker Ave
Joliet, IL 60436

Interment
Monday
November 1, 2021

12:00 PM
Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery
20953 W Hoff Rd
Elwood, IL 60421

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