In Memoriam: Richard Purtill

Richard Purtill, age 85, died Sunday, Dec. 4, at home in Bellingham.

He was born March 12, 1931 in Chicago, IL to Joseph and Bertha Purtill. Richard was stationed in England while serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He earned his B.A. and PhD at the University of Chicago. He married Betty Banks on June 22, 1959 in her hometown, East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Richard was a professor of Philosophy at WWU for many years, and was named an emeritus professor of Philosophy after he retired.  He wrote many books, from philosophy texts to science fiction and had a small but devoted following of his fantasy novels, many of which were set in ancient Greece.  A lover of all things Hellenic, Richard traveled to Greece many times throughout his life both professionally, as a guide and lecturer, and for personal pleasure.  He will be remembered as a philosopher, avid traveler, swimmer, and lover of owls, as well as a devoted Catholic, husband, and father. 

Richard was preceded in death by his sisters Shirley and Joanie. He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Betty, three sons, Mark of Kirkland, Tim and wife Kelly of Seattle and Steven and wife Alexis of Bellingham, brother David of South Dakota, and many loving relatives and friends. Memorials in Richard’s name may be made to EWTN (Catholic Television) at

A Vigil Service will be held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m..  Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Friday, Dec. 9 at noon.  Reception following at the church.

You may share memories with Richard’s family at    

Thursday, December 8, 2016 - 1:01pm

Event Date