Col. Ben Purcell Passes Away

Funeral services for a decorated Northeast Georgia veteran and former state legislator will take place Saturday.

Colonel Ben Purcell of Clarkesville passed away earlier this week at the age of 85.

Purcell was a long-time Habersham County resident and decorated veteran. In 1968, Purcell was serving in Vietnam when the helicopter he was on was shot down. Purcell spent more than five years as a prisoner of war, 58 months of that time in solitary confinement. He escaped from his prison cell on two different occasions only to be recaptured each time, somehow escaping execution. Purcell was finally released in March 1973.

In addition, Colonel Purcell served as District 9 State Representative in the Georgia General Assembly for four years, as well as past president of the North Georgia Technical College Alumni Association and filling other roles in the community.

Services for Colonel Purcell will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. from the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Clarkesville.