Joseph Douglas Purcell

Passed 10/16/2020

Obituary for Joseph Douglas Purcell

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Joseph Douglas Purcell in the morning hours of Friday October 16, 2020.

Joseph, known to many as Joe Black or Uncle Joe, was raised in the Acadian Village of West Chezzetcook, Nova Scotia. The son of Howard and Dalphine Purcell, Joe grew up surrounded in his community by what Joe would lovingly referred to as, “his people ''. Joe was given the gift of being able to capture his love for his community and love of nature through his artistic abilities; he attended Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Art with a concentration in Art Education. He won the Mackenzie Scholarship Award upon his completion of his education.

During his young years, Joe spent most of his time surrounded by family and friends; many of those years were spent at his camp in Mill Lake. Joe loved to be around all the elements of nature which were the foundations for all of his art pieces. Throughout the years Joe worked several different jobs; he was passionate about his work as an Artist but his fondest times were the years he taught in the school systems. He started his teaching career with long-term substitution within Dartmouth and the Eastern Shore school systems. His most cherished teaching experience came in his later years of his teaching career when he had the opportunity to live in Fort Simpson, N.W.T. While living there, he fell in love with the people, the land and the culture. Joe’s biggest wish before leaving this world was to visit his northern home, one last time.

Joe met the love of his life, Jacki, in 1973. They married and raised their three children, Gabriel, Hannah and Elijah, in Grand Desert, Nova Scotia; Joe loved his family and was proud of his children and their success in life. However, Joe’s greatest love came with the birth of his grandson’s, Cillian and Faolan. Whenever he could, Joe would spend his time with his grandsons, and adored them more than anything else.

With his eccentric personality throughout his life, Joe dabbled in many different interests including amature entomology; having a wealthy collection of insects from across the world. Joe also adventured into woodworking and reenacting with him assuming the role of The Scout. Joe was truly cherished among the people in his community and loved being among them. His ability to tell stories and connect with others was truly incredible and a natural talent of Joe.

We would like to sincerely thank the entire Palliative Care Team for the exemplary care provided to Joe. We’d also like to thank the community Team, in particular Shannon, and the unit staff doctors, nursing and support staff - all cared for Joe with professionalism, respect and love.

Joe is predeceased by his father, Howard and mother, Dalphine (Bellefontaine). Survived by wife Jacki (Baker), children Gabriel (Kirsten), Hannah and Elijah (Shelley). His grandchildren, Cillian and Faolan. Brothers Gary and Murray, cousin Thomas (Shirley), his 2 nieces and several nephews. As well, he is also survived by many of his cousins and relatives in his community.

On Monday, October 26th a public Celebration of Life will be happening at Ste. Therese Community Centre in Grand Desert starting at 3 with a private service being held at a different time. Due to Covid-19, there are limited spots available for the service in-person. A link to the service will be shared on social media for all to join.

Joe spent many years donating his time and work for charitable causes. Therefore, donations in Joe’s memory can be made to Elder Dog’s Canada at or mail donations to Elderdog Canada: 907 Feltzen South Rd., RR#1 Rose Bay, NS B0J 2X0.

Photos & Video

Add New Photos & Video


Joe, you are truly one of the greatest story tellers I have ever met. Combined with the beautiful gifts of being an artist, the love you had for your family, the love for others and for you Acadian heritage, you have left a beautiful legacy. Thank you Joe and God Bless.
- Tom O'Malley
Dear Jacki...My sincere heartfelt condolences to you and your family. I learned of Joe's passing earlier this evening, and my heart truly aches for you. You both added extra joy to my day when I would see you come into my workplace (Pleasant Street Diner) and I will always cherish the collection of drawings I was so blessed to receive. You both have a very special place in my heart, and I truly hope you both knew that. My thoughts, love, and prayers are with you, and the fond memories I have, will remain in my heart. Lynn Smaggus
- Lynn Smaggus
Jacki & family: Our sincere condolences, Joan Loomis, Board Chair, Gateway Homes Inc.
- Joan Loomis
Jacki and Joe's family, it is with profound sadness that we have learned of Joe's passing and offer you our sincere condolences at this difficult time. Joe will be missed at the Nova Scotia Museum for his contributions to our knowledge of Canada's insect fauna, his positive spirit and eagerness to help out in any way he could. Joe began using the collection at the Museum of Natural History to research and further refine inspiration for his art. As his love of entomology grew, he made many, many valuable contributions to the collections of the museum, collecting and identifying specimens from many regions, and always having some specimens to share with the museum. He was also a great inspiration to budding scientists, eager to share his knowledge as a volunteer and helping with BioBlitzes and similar public events. Joe's laugh, kind spirit and enthusiasm for his passions will be missed by us all.
- Calum Ewing
Sylvia and I would like to say how sorry we were to hear of Joe's passing. It was a terrible shock to learn of his illness, and he will be missed. Sending our sincere condolences and our wishes for healing to Jacki, Gabriel, Hannah, Elijah and family.
- Jim Hubley
Jackie and family we are thinking of you at this time, we have great memories of Joe and his family, and lots of art that we share with our family.... when Joe ended a visit or conversation he would always say good by my friend. We will say good bye our friend until we meet again!!!
- Nancy /Alden
Dear Jacki & Family, So very sorry to hear about Joe's passing. Sending my thoughts and prayers to you at this very difficult time.
- Janet Bray
Dear Jacki: although we haven't seen each other for years, I wanted you to know you are in my thoughts and prayers. Sincere condolences. Barb Burley
- Barbara Burley
I am so proud to have so many pieces his work.We had a lot of laughs together.His work is shared within my family,we all enjoy.Forever with us.
- Faith O'Hara
Jackie and sincere condolences to all of you. Carol Gear
- Carol Gear
My sympathy to Jacki and her children, Joe's entire family and friends. I knew Joe through stories told by Pam and Stephen and through meeting him while teaching at Lakeview/West Chezzetcook........ He was a very gracious man and the community will remember him always. I hope find memories will help ease the pain of losing him... but he is no longer in pain. Rest easy.
- Theresa MacNeil
Jacki and family: So sorry to hear about Joe. My deepest sympathies on your loss.
- Nancy Simpson
Jacki, I am so sorry to hear of Joe's passing. You are in my thoughts and heart. Please take good care. Joanne
- Joanne Bond
Dear Jacki and sorry to hear of Joe's passing..take care, Donna and Richard Stevens
- Donna Stevens
sincere thoughts are with Josephs family ; it is always too soon to say "goodbye"
- pearl turner
So sorry to hear the news of a great mans passing , He was a great artist an a true story teller. His memories will be forever remembered for years to come. Rest In Peace Joe
- Darlene Kiley
Dear Jacki and family, I'm truly sorry for your loss, sad to say that I only met Joe once, at another family funeral, what a great conversation we had about his art and his interests. Joe was showing myself and my sisters his paintings, such talent. Jacki please know you are all in my thoughts and heart at this very difficult time. Hugs and love.
- Christine Gargan
Jackie and family I am so sorry to hear of Joe's passing. So many fond memories of our time at St Mary's when you and Joe were first dating, and the privilege of being included in your wedding. The obituary tells the story of a life well lived and Joes unique spirit. Sending loving thoughts your way. Debbie
- Debbie Beaton
Dear Jacki, Thinking of you. Sending prayers and hugs.
- Ann Jardine
Sorry to hear about your loss of Joe. Our thoughts are with you
- Sandra Doherty
Jackie Very sorry to hear of your loss. Thinking of you and your family
- Gordon Organ
Jackie - I'm so very sorry for your loss
- Sheila Thompson
Jackie and family, So sorry to hear the news of Joe. My sympathies to all of you. Take care of yourself and each other.
- LIsa Fullerton
Jackie, Gabriel, Elijah and Hannah. My deepest sympathies on your loss. I will aleays remember the pictures he would leave on the chalkboard at work. Something that always brightened my day. So talented. My heart goes out to you all during this time. Love Carmen
- Carmen Jeffrey
To Jacki & family, what a wonderful story you told of Joseph, he truly was a remarkable man in so many ways. Both my wife June, who grew up with Joseph & I are going to miss the man, the community spirit, the connector of stories, the artist who's paintings are in every household in West Chezzetcook, Grand Desert & quite literally around the world !! We also cannot forget the meat eater, Joseph like nothing better than a good piece of meat & it really didn't matter which animal it came from or how it was cooked, he loved the flavour & texture of meat. Everywhere Joseph went there was a story to be told & he could hold court with the best & as always there was laughter & many many enjoyable times. We all will miss him dearly, he brought our community together with his art & his spirit of the Acadian's was so dear to his heart & it showed. Joseph unlike many that has gone before him will live on, for his art & history will remain for generations. Garth & June McIsaac
- Garth McIsaac

Leave a message to share your favorite memories and offer words of sympathy and comfort:

Enter Your Phone Number

To leave a condolence message, add photos, or add videos, please provide your name and email address.