Artist leaves lasting legacy

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Brandon Valle
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
A veteran of 24 years and an artist who captured Warren in his pen and ink drawings passed away March 11, 2015.

This veteran was stationed and retired at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. Maj. Dean Purves worked as a combat crew commander in the 321st Missile Squadron back in the early 1970's and picked up drawing as a hobby.

"When his daughter, Cathy, contacted me and informed me of his passing, I turned around and looked at the two drawings of his I have on my wall." said Kerry Glaser, 90th Force Support Squadron casualty assistance representative and survivor benefit plan counselor. 

Drawing developed into more than a simple hobby for Dean Purves, becoming a career once he left the Air Force.

"He always wanted to be an artist," said his wife, Colleen Purves. "His love for Wyoming and the outdoors inspired him to draw."

Dean Purves began drawing simple sketches for Christmas cards for various squadrons, but then it morphed into something greater.

"When he realized he was able to help squadron fundraisers with his sketches, it motivated him to offer his assistance," said his wife of 61 years.

Eventually he started to draw more intricate designs of houses and scenes of buildings on Warren, to the delight of his wife.

"I loved when he was drawing," Colleen Purves said. "While he drew, I would write poetry."

Being an artist who loved what he did, Dean Purves created a number of drawings and prints, many of which depict holiday activities including sleigh rides and caroling. Many of those festive designs are still displayed around base today.

"The drawings I have in my office were donated to me by widows I have assisted," said Glaser. "I have carried them for over 12 years."

Although one may find their office on base decorated with his work, the main part of him drawing was to create gifts for those he cared about.

"He loved drawing for his family," said the mother of their seven children. "He was a wonderful husband, fantastic father, and a super grandfather."

Though he has passed, Dean Purves will continue on through his work. His drawings adorn the walls of various buildings around the wing, including the wing headquarters and the base museum.

Glaser said that the drawings are now keepsakes, and chances are those left with his legacy agree.