Clarence Ivory Purnell, Jr.

Sunrise: March 15, 1953

Sunset: October 21, 2023

Clarence was born on March 15, 1953, in segregated DePaul Hospital in Norfolk, Va to Clarence and Ada Purnell. He entered eternal life on October 21, 2023 to be present with the Lord. He grew up in Barraud Park, a tight knit neighborhood located in Norfolk. He attended Norfolk Public School system. While attending Jacox Junior High School he joined the band where he played the clarinet. He graduated from Booker T Washington High School Class of 1971. After graduation, he attended Norfolk State University.

Following in his mother’s footsteps he began his career by volunteering at Norfolk Community Hospital. Over the years he was employed at Norfolk Community Hospital, Lake Taylor Hospital, Ballentine Place, Chesapeake Place and Prime Plus. It was only natural that he spent so many years in the medical field because he had such an empathetic heart and was a caregiver to everyone. He truly loved and enjoyed his profession. He was a member of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church where he served as a member of the choir. In the year 2019 he was celebrated, and he received the Legend of the Year award from the Vibe/College Cue Reunion Committee. He held this reward in high regards. He loved cooking, fashion, dancing and family event planning. He also loved talking to any and everyone. So much that his mother once told him that he could talk the feathers off of a duck. He shared such a special bond with his mother that it was rare to see one without the other. He was the patriarch of a family full of girls. He was always there when called upon without compliant, hesitation or judgement. He had a way of making us all feel like we were the most important thing to him in that moment. He will be deeply missed by his friends, family, and all who knew him.

Clarence was predeceased by his father, Clarence Purnell; mother, Ada Purnell; sister, Annie R Battle; and niece/daughter Benita Battle Hodges. He leaves to cherish his memories, sons, Trayvon McCoy and Deontra Sykes (Janet Sykes); grandsons, Trayvon McCoy Jr., Legend Sykes, and Lennox Sykes; sisters, Gardina Williams, Joyce Purnell, and Gloria Mitchell; brother, Cordell Gomez; niece/daughters, Lena Battle-Pitt (Dennis Pitt), Candie Davenport (James Berry), Angel Davenport, and Charmaine Davenport; nieces, Sheena, Brittany, Jacinda, Amanda, Emeana, Ishah; nephews, Darryl, Marcel, and Dennis Jr.; host of great nieces and nephews; numerous friends that he held near and dear for over 40 years; loving bonus daughters and a host of family and friends.

Viewing Saturday, November 4, 2023 12 Noon - 4:00pm Metropolitan Funeral Service 7246 Granby Street Norfolk, VA 23505 Service COME IN PERSON OR WATCH SERVICE LIVE ONLINE Sunday, November 5, 2023 1:00pm Metropolitan Funeral Service Granby Chapel

Send Flowers


  1. reply
    Veronica Brehon says

    My heart is heavy with sadness but finding comfort knowing that Ms. Ada is on the other side waiting with open arms. Wishing the family LOVE and BLESSINGS during this time.

  2. reply
    Judith Walston-Henderson says

    So very sorry for your loss. May our Lord and Savior comfort you and your family during this most difficult journey and in the days that follow.

    • reply
      Albert Sammons Jr says

      Albert Sammons Jr, San Francisco CA I met Clarence in 1973 while stationed at CINCLANTFLT Public Affairs Office in the Navy. He was a good friend. We lost touch after I was discharged in 1977. My sincere condolences and prayers.

  3. reply
    Shirleyniemiev says

    Feeling. Sad,,but. Know. Clarence. Is in. Heaven with. George,whom he took. Care of. I. Can hear . Clarence saying.y. Man. God bless all of you. Got to know you like. My. Family.

    • reply
      Janice Smith Roane says

      My heartfelt condolences to the family concerning the passing of Clarence. Clarence and I were childhood
      buddies! I was happy to reconnect with him on FB. One of the finest memories I have is when I was in the hospital at then what was called Community Hospital, Clarence checked on me and made sure I was comfortable and had all I needed. He would spend time on his break in my room and made sure I was being properly treated! He showed such kindness and compassion!
      Please know you all are in my prayers and thoughts at this difficult time. May God grant you all peace and comfort!
      Godly Love and Peace,
      Janice Smith Roane

  4. reply
    Carolyn Barnard says

    So shocked and sad to hear of Junior’s demise. Heaven has gained a GQ Angel. Always styling.Sweet Ada gets to be with her Junior again πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

  5. reply
    steven gallop says

    Keeping family in prayer.

    • reply
      Darlene Plummer Wilson says

      Clarence, I knew you through my sister and you always treated me so good. You sat with my mother when she was living and she often talked about the times you two spent together. God bless your soul. It was an honor to have known you.

  6. reply
    Shirley Johnson says

    Praying for peace and comfort.

  7. reply
    Dora Morris says

    I am going to miss him calling me his work wife. From the first day that I met him at Prime-plus we fell into a deep friendship. To his family Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal. He is not gone he is still in our hearts.

  8. reply
    Anne Mortenson says

    I contend that the conditions of these present times are not worth comparing to the glories that God has in store for us. You will be missed by so many people Clarence as you were a light in the lives of many people. What a blessing you were to Chesapeake Place and its residents while I was there. Your smile lit up many faces and your interaction with those lovely precious people was amazing. Thank you for being part of my life and it was an honor to have you working with me. I know your Mama is rejoicing that you have come home to her. Rest in peace my friend and I will see you on the other side.

  9. reply
    Dr. Sherri L. Valencia says

    My heartfelt condolences goes out to the Purnell family. Clarence AKA Purnell will be missed. I want to thank the family for always being there for my family (The Walters) that lived directly crossed the street.

    Purnell was always smiling and had a great conversation when we would see one another. Whether we were out and about or screaming across our front yards to talk. Known as a fashion icon Purnell always would say “I always wear Tommy Hilfiger.” On many occasions we would ask Purnell what do you have on that is apart of Tommy Hilfiger line and he would identify the clothing item or cologne. That was always an inside joke for us.

    My friend you will be sorely missed. You touched so many with your smile, conversations, and caregiver spirit. Barraud Park will not be the same without you.

    Rest In Peace,

    Sherri & Paco Valencia along with the entire Walters tribe.

  10. reply
    Trayvon McCoy Sr. says

    To my family, loved ones, and friends. I send my deepest prayers. No question we lost one of the most kind hearted person in the world. My father was always quick to give and slow to take. He would give his last without hesitation. If you ever called or needed him he would show up with an open heart & lending hand. My father took care & raised me since I was ah infant. He introduced me to God, taught me how to dress & always smell good. Lol. A true ladies man. I love this man with all my heart & will always hold on to every memory I shared with my Father. Let Grand Ma Ada know I Love her. Till we meet again love your Son , Trayvon!

    Fly High Pops, I love you.

  11. reply
    Joyce G. Beamon says

    May God comfort the Purnell family. Sincerely, The Grimes Sisters;: Brenda (White), Wilma (Espy), and Joyce (Beamon)

    • reply
      Albert Sammons Jr says

      Albert Sammons Jr, San Francisco CA I met Clarence in 1973 while stationed at CINCLANTFLT Public Affairs Office in the Navy. He was a good friend. We lost touch after I was discharged in 1977. My sincere condolences and prayers.

Leave a Reply


Personal Service, Peace of Mind, Pleasant Memories

P 757.628.1000 • F 757.545.9148

© Metropolitan Funeral Service