John Purves

John Montague Purves

Sunday, February 6th, 1938 - Tuesday, February 19th, 2019
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Retired Chemist with the Dept. of National Defense

Entered into rest at the Brockville General Hospital, Charles Street Site on Tuesday, February 19, 2019. John Montague Purves, at the age of 81 years. Survived by his three sisters Elizabeth Purves, Anne Purves and Patricia Macbeth. Also survived by a number of nieces and nephews.

A celebration of John's life will be held at a later date. Arrangements are entrusted with the Irvine Funeral Home and Chapel, 4 James St. E., Brockville. As expressions of sympathy, donations to the Alzheimer Society of Lanark Leeds Grenville will be appreciated. Send condolences or make a donation online at

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Donations are being accepted for: Alzheimer Society of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville.


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Gayle Dunlop

Posted at 09:27pm
I worked with John for many years in the General Chemistry and Environmental Group at QETE. I still remember him coming into work with his orange toque, grey coat, rubber boots and brief case in hand. He loved to tinker in the laboratory and was always fabricating some kind of gadget. He did a lot of important research into the various chemicals used to extinguish fires. If you needed a tool, a nut or bolt or just a helping hand John was there. He spoke fondly of his weekends in Cumberland riding his steam train and of his camping outings with his family. He will be dearly missed...
Gayle Dunlop

David Lesley

Posted at 04:39pm
I only met John twice but we bought a house at 139 Marborough that he and Grant were the ‘sellers’ of. It was our first house and our real estate agent told us that John and Grant were moved to sell to us based on it being our first house/home. We were in competition with another and had matched prices. John came by after the sale and was a gentleman. My wife and I are in the debt of John, Grant and family. May John rest in peace.

Doug Yuill

Posted at 12:48pm
Until his move to a retirement home ~5-years ago, I had the regular pleasure of sharing Saturday morning breakfasts at the Fontenelle Restaurant in Vanier with John. Occasionally other EVCO members such as Carl Chaboyer, Juergen Weichert, Marcel van der Sluis, Gareth Baker, and Charles Richer, among others, would also join us.

A retired Defence Research Scientist, John had a formidable knowledge of chemistry, and I alway enjoyed hearing his war stories which reflected positively the many contribution he made during his long career. I've shared a quote below, that I'm sure John would have loved.
--Doug Yuill, Smiths Falls

"Chemistry has been termed by the physicist as the messy part of physics, but this is not the reason why the physicists should be allowed to make a mess of chemistry when they invade it." Frederick Soddy

Susan Pecman

Posted at 11:39am
I am saddened to hear of Johns passing. I lost touch with him years ago. I remember John from my days at QETE. He was a wonderful person to have around. He always had drawers full of bits and pieces for fixing anything, advice on experiments, on in-depth understanding of the properties or hazards of chemicals, ASTM test methods and fascinating books to read. I remember borrowing a book from him on Banting, Best, Maclean and Collip a part of Canada’s chemistry history I did not know about. Rest in peace my old friend.

Susan Pecman.

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