Sumner’s Stan Purvis has been around to see a little town grow to the community it is today.
Purvis, 84, recalls the area where he lives used to be the east end of the town – everything beyond was empty farmland with no houses as far as the horizon. Despite the building developments and increase in population, nothing has really changed in his eyes.
“You can certainly see the growth just in my lifetime,” he said, looking out the window of his home. “To me it really hasn’t changed very much. The people are all still wonderful to me, anyway. I can’t think of living anyplace else.”
He was born Oct. 17, 1924, in the Puyallup hospital where his mother, Laura Sanderson, worked as a nurse. He has two younger sisters, Patricia Nienstedt and Geneve Gears.
Purvis graduated from high school in 1942 and joined the U.S. Army in February 1944, working in field artillery during World War II. He sustained a back injury during his service and underwent eight months of treatment, which limited his effectiveness as a soldier. He was discharged in May 1945 and returned home to his family.
He met his future bride, Cecilia, at her father’s chicken ranch, introduced by Purvis’ cousin and his wife who lived within 150 feet of the ranch. The two met periodically at small functions or for coffee and, before too long, Purvis knew he had someone special.
“If I was ever gonna get married, I couldn’t have found a better woman than her,” he said.
They were married Sept. 25, 1953, and returned to Sumner in 1960 with their daughters Beatrice, Patricia and Julie.
Purvis has been heavily involved in the Sumner community. He served on the City Council from 1969 until 1983 and sat on the school board for four years. He also worked with the planning commission for five years and acted as committee chairman of the Sumner Centennial celebration in 1991.
For 15 years, Purvis volunteered his time with the Sumner School District as the treasurer and helped establish the Sumner Historical Society in 1972, serving on the board of directors for more than 37 years. He even spent time dressing as Santa Claus and riding a fire engine through downtown during the holiday season.
After all the memories, he hopes to live out the rest of his days in the little town in which he became such a big part.
“I hope I can end it here, shall we say.”