Ron Purpora can’t help it. He just doesn’t know how to give any less than 120 percent of himself. That goes especially for his family, but also for his work as a respiratory therapist, his love of Jesus and everything else that holds a place close to his heart.
Ron is a wonderful husband to Debbie, a loving father to five, a stepfather to two, a grandfather and a great grandfather. He is the type to pour everything he has into those who rely on him while going out of his way to teach, guide and love them to the fullest.
That continues to this day with a different kind of guidance for his children Renee, Robyn, Rhonda, Regan and Ronnie, along with his stepchildren Bridget and Troy and all the “grands” he adores so much. He still puts all of them first.
“He always makes time for us,” Robyn said. “The heart in my dad for his children and family is so big and unconditional. I really and truly aspire to be like him. The smiles full of love, hugs full of strength, ears wide open and shoulder to cry on are all ways he is the best dad God could have given me.”
Ron is quirky and funny, but the reputation that precedes him all around town is more about compassion and care. He shows it to his family in big ways and small, and he has a career full of accomplishments as a respiratory therapist and a veteran of the Navy and Marine Corps.
Ron also shows up to every one of his grandchildren’s events, and he still takes a great deal of pride in teaching CPR and advanced cardiac life support.
Ron’s level of commitment to all those things is remarkable, and his competitive streak is legendary. It all adds up to a man who is adamant about giving his very best and loves to share his knowledge with his kids and grandkids.
“He’s very competitive,” Debbie said. “We love to play the card game Hand and Foot. He loves chess, all those things you have to focus and concentrate on. He will teach the kids stuff like that. He wants them to know all he knows, which of course isn’t possible. He’s a really bright man. He wants to figure things out completely.”
Ron’s commitment shows in the way he lives and breathes for his family, but also in his love for Jesus and his personal walk in his faith. He is an inspiration to Debbie, who met him through the church, and his kids who aim to follow in his footsteps.
“His love of Jesus is one of my favorite qualities,” Debbie said. “He keeps me grounded, and together our faith gets us through difficult and challenging situations. He loves everyone unconditionally and truly believes all people are good. He is very kind and giving. He loves me even when I don’t love myself at the time.”
Ron embodies the love of Jesus by loving without conditions and showing kindness to everyone. That example has had a special impact on his children who appreciate the extent to which Ron goes to make sure they are happy, healthy and secure.
“It’s because of him that today, I can call myself a strong and independent woman,” Rhonda said. “From pushing me on a swing as a child to teaching me how to drive a car, he has always kept my happiness and independence before everything else.”
One of the most amazing things about Ron is that he has made it his life’s work to help others by treating them the same way. He’s willing to share his “odd way of speaking” with loved ones and strangers alike.
Debbie found his “backwards” way of talking charming when they started getting to know each other as they served on senior ministry together. And when they had their first date, Ron handled that with his own unique style, too.
“His personality was so colorful to me, and I was drawn in by that,” Debbie said. “Our first date, he said, ‘I’d like to take you to a movie for your birthday.’ He sets up what I’m thinking is a date, and we go to the movie theater with all the kids and grandkids. They’re all there. This is our first date, and I’m saying, ‘Yay, me.’
“He’s a really cool guy. I’m blessed. That’s all I can really say. I’m totally blessed.”
Many others would say the same thing about simply getting the chance to know Ron. Even those who enter the briefest of relationships with him might go into the transaction as strangers, but they don’t leave that way. It’s a gift he can’t wait to share, even if Debbie sometimes wishes he would.
“He has a really odd way of speaking sometimes,” she said with a laugh. “He’ll say things really backwards. You can say, ‘How are you?’ He’ll say, ‘Oh, terrible.’ He just draws you in. He’ll talk to anybody and everybody. We go to the store, and I’ll get embarrassed and say, ‘Leave them alone.’”
But Ron can’t help himself. He’s a people person to the fullest. He takes CPR and life-saving techniques seriously and is dedicated to sharing them with others. Ron loves his kids and all the “grands” and is a guiding light for all of them. He’s a people person who cares deeply about everyone he meets and everything he does.
To his family, Ron is simply a blessing.
“If it was not for his devotion to people and more importantly his children, I am not sure where I would be or even what I would be doing with my life,” Renee said. “Because of his love of Christ, I have passed that down to my children and their children. I am able to bless every person I touch as he does. The world we live in is a better place because of my daddy, Ron Purpora. Father God, please continue to bless him in everything he does.”
“I was never a perfect daughter but you loved me unconditionally,” Regan said. “You spent as much time at work, with our community and church which made me jealous at times but taught me life long lessons. It’s your greatest gift to me, and I will always be grateful. I know that your kindness and caring for us and everyone you come in contact, will elevate you even after this life. I love you deeply, Dad, and have through it all.”
“My fondest memories of Dad are his attending my games no matter what I was playing,” Ronnie said. “Being the only son and the youngest child it seemed he waited all those years for a child who might have similar interests in sports. That he always tried to guide me without force, but by example and in love. Dad has always been there through the years to support me and my family. He has attended my three children’s graduations and I love when he drives to Mississippi to visit me. We enjoy playing cards, Bocce Ball, or just hanging out. My dad is a special, kind man. I think he is the best dad a guy could have. My dad is my hero.”
“My dad has been my inspiration since I learned to walk,” Robyn said. “I continue to aspire to the light and love of all God’s creations, as my father does. He never meets a stranger. Church has always been an important lesson of respect, faith and worship of Jesus in my father’s values. I truly wish to be as Godly as my dad. He is the most intelligent person I know. He has advice and knowledge that he wants to share with all who will listen.”
“Thanks for choosing us, and loving our Mom,” Bridget and Troy said. “You make her happy.”