John Feary

My biweekly column is coming out a little early because I need to share some sad news with the residents of Claremore.

Long-time councilman Don Purkey passed away last Friday. He was 84.

I want to start by offering my condolences to all who knew Don and enjoyed his presence.

Don loved serving the City of Claremore, where he moved to as a child in fifth grade from Verdigris.

He spent three decades on the City Council and was instrumental in changing the government from a mayor-city council type to a city manager-city council version. Don served under five mayors, a testament to how well residents appreciated his service to the community. He enjoyed working on issues related to streets, finances and other topics important to the community.

Not only was Don a resident of Claremore, he was a proud citizen of Cherokee Nation.

Don’s work on the Council over the years has been outstanding, and I’m so grateful he spent such a valuable amount of his time serving the community he loved.

He will be missed by many, but especially his wife, Marjie as well as his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

I invite those who knew and appreciated Don’s service to Claremore to take part in remembering his service to this community.

This column is much more somber than past columns, but I want to make sure we are honoring the life and legacy of an important member of our beloved community. My heart goes out to Don’s family and friends.

Until next time.


John Feary is the acting city manager for the city of Claremore.

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