K-12 Education

Marion V. Purviance, who worked for Federal Reserve Bank in 1960s, dies

Marion V. Purviance, a retired office manager who enjoyed cooking, died Feb. 21 from cancer at her Northwood home. She was 77.

Marion Virginia Dowdy was the daughter of Henry C. Dowdy, a Bethlehem Steel Corp. steelworker, and Virginia Dowdy, a homemaker. She was born in Baltimore and raised in Turner Station and Sparrows Point.

A 1959 graduate of Sollers Point High School, Mrs. Purviance attended then-Hampton Institute in Hampton, Va., now Hampton University, where she she studied mathematics.

In 1961, she married Phillip Purviance and later settled in Northwood, where they raised their two sons.

Mrs. Purviance began working in 1961 for the Baltimore branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

“She was among the first cohort of African-American women to integrate the Richmond [Federal Reserve Bank], and related stories of the challenges she and her colleagues faced,” a son, Gabriel Purviance of Perry Hall, wrote in a biographical sketch of his mother.

“She persevered, succeeded and used this particular example of her experience to encourage family and friends to ‘do their part, do their best,’ ” he wrote.

Mrs. Purviance received numerous commendations for her ability in detecting counterfeit bills, her son said.

She left the Federal Reserve in 1966 and later worked in the family dry cleaning and tailoring business until becoming office manager for Chesapeake Urology. She retired in 2005.

The longtime Northwood resident enjoyed cooking for family and friends, watching cooking shows and discussing cookware and menus. She also followed politics.

Mrs. Purviance was a member of Our Savior Lutheran Church, 3301 The Alameda, where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday.

In addition to her husband of 57 years and her son, Mrs. Purviance is survived by another son, Jason Purviance of Parkville; three brothers, Charles Dowdy of Milford Mill, David Dowdy of Randallstown and Ronald Dowdy of Westminster; and five grandchildren.

— Frederick N. Rasmussen

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