July 30, 2014
Vol: 21 No: 31


Remembering Real Change Vendor David Purnell

Obituary / By Neal Lampi, Real Change Vendor Services Field Organizer

Painting by Laura Stokes

Photo printed in Real Change 01/13/2010. Vol 17, No 3

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David sold Real Change for more than a decade. Meeting people and selling Real Change enriched his life. He loved his customers. Their inspiration and encouragement meant the world to him.  He sold newspapers at the QFC on 15th Avenue and before that, at Trader Joe’s at 17th and Madison.

In early 2013, David started a business called Grampa’s Landscaping.  He did yard work for his customers and local businesses. He was a hard worker and confident about his new venture.

“The only thing I see that will stop me is if I don’t wake up in the morning,” he said.

David was born in Seattle and graduated from Garfield High School. His family still owns the house that his mother and father bought on 21st and Republican more than 60 years ago. David said his parents were the best a person could have.

“They taught us about being color-blind, just loving people, not being judgmental, and working for what you get; don’t look for handouts. They were full of love and morals and values.”

David had an unflappable manner and a great sense of humor. He did not take himself too seriously nor was he weighed down by all of his troubles, but sought to prevail over every obstacle. 

David will be missed by family and friends alike, as well as all of us at Real Change who appreciated his commitment to selling the paper as well as his occasional antics.



Dad ill always love you, no matter through the struggles we had you were my father my inspiration of being a better man. (I LOVE YOU FROM THE BASEMENT OF MY HEART TO THE BALCONY OF MY MIND)

Antoine Purnell | submitted on 07/31/2014, 7:55am

I am heartbroken to learn that Mr. Purnell has died. I looked forward to seeing him each week. He always brightened my day, and had genuine concern for his clients. I will miss him.

Johanna Hulick | submitted on 07/31/2014, 4:33pm

David is the reason I began volunteering with Real Change in 2012. His interaction when I bought the paper made me want to become more involved. His friendliness was a blessing.

Rachel | submitted on 08/01/2014, 1:16am

I work at the QFC on 15th. We all really enjoyed David's company. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

Jessica | submitted on 08/03/2014, 7:50pm

We miss him terribly. Always ready for a hug and a kiss, with a kind smile. We shared sorrow when our mothers died. I wish love to his family and friends. He will be in our hearts.

Vanessa Skantze | submitted on 08/03/2014, 10:21pm

Ouch!. What a kind soul. My sincere condolences to his family,and all the people who's lives he brightened just by being David. I will never forget him.How very sad. Rest in peace,darling.

Jane Whisler | submitted on 08/05/2014, 11:29am

I am sadden to have lost my friend. I loved him like a brother. We grew up in the central district. David was very special to me. I will never forget him. REST IN PEACE MY FRIEND MY BROTHER!

Harold Ticeson | submitted on 08/06/2014, 12:02pm

I was shocked to hear that David Purnell died. I bought Real Change from him many times. He made my life better by being there and being such an optimist! My condolences to David's family.

Lana B. | submitted on 08/13/2014, 5:08pm

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