Bryan Edward Purcell

July 15, 1951 to January 27, 2021


To view the service for the Late Bryan Purcell on Monday, February 1st, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at the Carnell Memorial Chapel please follow this link



Blessed with a lifetime of happy memories, Bryan Purcell passed peacefully away at the Health Sciences Center on January 27, 2021. Leaving to mourn with broken but full hearts are his daughter Allison (Sean); his wife M. Kathleen Rockwell; his sister Joan Mannering; nieces Christy Mannering and Erin Hanlon (Craig), and grand-niece Gracie Hanlon; daughter-in-law and son-in-law Jennie and Tim Robbins, and grandchildren Parker (Elisabeth), Katie and Amanda; beloved brother-in-law Karl Hammond and all the Hammond family; and a wide circle of relatives and friends in both Newfoundland and Connecticut. Bryan is predeceased by wife Christine Purcell (Hammond), sister Elizabeth (Betty) Purcell, mother Margaret Barnable, and mother-in-law Emma Hammond.

Bryan was dedicated to helping others and spent his long career in social services, corrections, and youth justice advocating for the rights of those facing the biggest challenges. Throughout his many years of work in criminal justice reform and community-based correctional programming, Bryan was a lifelong advocate for just, humane and ethical correctional policies and programs. After his retirement Bryan continued this work, serving as board member and later as President of the John Howard Society at both the provincial and national level.

Bryan enjoyed travelling and road trips, classic trucks and tractors, and spending time outside in nature. He loved reading, playing Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit, and had a great love of music. His happiest times were those spent with family and friends, especially when he was able to enjoy the ocean view from his deck in Ferryland, and the backyard of his home in Connecticut.

Bryan faced many challenges during his life, but always met them with strength, courage and unending patience. He had a sharp wit and a great sense of humour, and was always quick with a joke, even in the most difficult times. His strength and determination are a lesson to us all to make the most of all we are given, and to never take anything for granted. Bryan was the rock of our family and he will be missed beyond measure.

The family will receive visitors at Carnell’s Funeral Home, 329 Freshwater Road, on Sunday, January 31 from 2-4pm, and from 7-9pm. A funeral service will be held from the Carnell Memorial Chapel on Monday, February 1st, 2021 at 11:00am. In accordance with Covid-19 restrictions, pre-registration to attend the funeral is required. To pre-register, email For those unable to attend the service it will be livestreamed and can be viewed by following the link on Carnell’s Funeral Home website. In lieu of flowers, donations to The Gathering Place will be gratefully accepted. To send a message of condolence please visit






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I just learned with sadness of Bryan’s passing. My condolences to all the family. I worked with Bryan for many years. He was a good man, kind, responsible and a thinker. I know his legacy will live on in those close to him.

To Kathy and family, please accept my belated but heartfelt thoughts to you. I hope the kind wishes and love that have gone out to you from Bryan’s many friends, family, and admirers have helped console you during this difficult time. All my very best, Mark

Kathy and Family, Jeff & I are so sorry to learn of Bryan’s passing. He was really a delightful person to be with and to chat with when we met up with you at the Class reunions, as well as when we got together for breakfast or brunch after the reunions. He was instantly a friend. May all your happy memories sustain you now and always. Hugs to all of you.

Kathy and Family, Jeff & I are so sorry to learn of Brian’s passing. He was really a delightful person to be with and to chat with when we met up with you at the Class reunions, as well as when we got together for breakfast or brunch after the reunions. He was instantly a friend. May all your happy memories sustain you now and always. Hugs to all of you.

Allison, this must be a very difficult time for you! I have such fond memories of you and your Dad while teaching at St. Andrews! Please know that you are in my prayers!
Betty Cooper

Very sorry to hear Brian had passed.

I know he will be missed.

So sorry to hear of Brian’s passing.. He was such a lovely man and a true inspiration to others. Condolences to all the family. Rest peacefully Brian.

To Bryan’s family,
I was so sorry to hear of Bryan’s passing . He was truly an exceptional individual with a passion for his work and a keen sense of fairness and justice. There are many who will never know how their lives were improved because of his work and advocacy. My condolences to each of you.

To Brian’s family,
Deepest condolences on your loss. Brian was a true champion for those in our criminal justice system and his advocacy and work have improved our province. He will be greatly missed and leaves a lasting legacy.

To Brian’s family,
My sincere condolences to each of you at the loss of this very special man who I was blessed to know and work with from our very first summer job with the Department of Social Services back in 1970 until my retirement. He was a great champion for those he served, a wonderful colleague and friend. RIP Bryan.

Kathy, Allison, Joan and Families, I was so sorry to hear of Bryan’s passing. Having worked with Bryan at the Dept. of Social Services, I always admired his “straight-shooting” advocacy for for justice and services for youth. I also have many fond memories of our coffee group conversations, with Bryan’s wicked sense of humour, and his obvious pride in Allison and strong love and commitmet to his family. Fortunatey the coffee group friends continued over the years, and we witnessed Bryan’s amazing resilience, and also his joy in his life in CT with Kathy and her family. An amazing life of love, and contribution! My sincere condolences to you all.

Kathy, Allison,Joan and Families, sincere condolences on Brian’s passing. Brian was a gentle giant, loved and respected by all who had the privilege to call him friend. We shared many conversations on numerous topics during our time at Social Services. I was always impressed with Brian’s thoughtful, measured and yes, often witty responses.
May God Bless you as you celebrate the life of Brian, a truly wonderful gentleman.
Peter Harvey
Langley, B C

Kathy, Allison, Joan, and families So sorry to hear of Bryan’s passing. Our sincere condolences to you all

Joan, Dave and I, Maureen Hause send our condolences and love to you and all your family

We were very sorry to hear of Bryan’s passing.
I knew Bryan for many years through our work in corrections and greatly admired him. What a capable, strong and decent man who was dedicated to both his professional and volunteer work . .
We were g;lad to be able to watch the funeral service on line this morning. He will be missed.

Terry & Barb Carlson

As a footnote to my previous message, I thought I should share a story that speaks to Bryan’s sense of humour and wit…. Back in the early 1990’s, I finally received my graduate degree, one that had taken me SEVERAL years to complete. Being on time has never been one of my virtues. At my graduation party, Bryan presented me with a gift… a lovely, colourful wooden abacus, telling me that ancient form of counting was more suited to my grasp of time!! That abacus still has a place of honour on my desk.

So sorry to hear of Bryan’s passing, I too knew him professionally at Social Services, always fighting for “the cause”
Thinking of you all at this time and my sincere condolences

Elizabeth Horwood

I was so very sorry to hear of Bryan’s passing. My heartfelt condolences to you all. I hope you understand that due to Covid-19 circumstances, I have decided to view the services on-line. Even though I will not be there in person, I will be there emotionally with you with all my heart. Hugs to all of you, and again, all I am so sorry. for your loss.

Kathy, Allison, Joan and families,
We were greatly saddened to hear of Bryan’s passing. I, like many others, first met Bryan during my time at Social Services. He was such a wonderful, kind and witty person. Our heart felt condolences to all of his family and friends.
John and Marie Wells

Sincere condolences to Bryan’s family. We were colleagues at Social Services for many years and I can say he was definitely a champion for his clients.

Allison, Please accept my sincerest of condolences ! Remembering you in my thoughts and prayers at this difficult time! Rest In Peace, Brian

In leaving my recent message of condolences this evening , I neglected to leave my name (anonymous) and think Brian would have a clever and witty phrase to explain or analyze that mistake. He was so clever and witty that he would probably be very amused. And not surprised. My deepest condolences to all of his family.

Brian was a valued colleague who worked relentlessly and brilliantly to improve the lives and futures of those enmeshed in the corrections system. His brilliance and capacity to mentor others led to his various leadership roles and made him a true example of the best in public service. I will always treasure his brilliance , his sense of humour , his courage , his love of family and his wonderful friendship. My deepest condolences to his family.

Hi Allison,
So sorry to hear of the passing of your Dad. Thinking of you during this time.

Joan, so sorry to hear of Bryan’s passing . our sincere condolences to you and your family.
Harry and Inez Chapman.

Kathy, Alison, Joan and Family: I was very saddened to learn of Bryan’s death. He was the consummate professional always focused on how our clients could be best served and how the system could and should be improved. I have many fond memories of our coffee break conversations which could be lively and always filled with laughter. I admired his strength in pushing through the life challenges that he confronted, always focused on the possible and seemingly never defeated by what was. It takes a special person to turn a smiling face to the world! He met Kathy and they did not hesitate to embrace a new opportunity at living a fulfilling life – a lesson for all of us. Go in peace Bryan. I am glad to have known you and call you friend .

Vivian Randell

I worked in the same division as Bryan for many years. It was a challenge to get to know him but once you did he was a witty man. He was the perfect person to have in your corner if things got challenging, which they did on several occasions. It is sad to think his light has left this world. Condolences to his family and friends. He has been in my thoughts and prayers and may he Rest In Peace.

Joan and family,;
My sincere condolences on Bryan’s passing. May you find great comfort in your many wonderful memories.

In December 1997 my mother died unexpectedly .Bryan came to visit me at Carnell’s and I remember the genuineness of his expression of sympathy for my loss and concern for my well being .His compassion shined through .Moments define how we see people, moments show us their heart .That moment will always define my remembrance of Bryan .

To Joan and family, I’m so sad to hear about Bryan’s passing. I remember his intelligence and sense of humour. The last I saw him was at Miller Center, I thought he was so strong. My condolences to you all, you were very lucky to have had him in your life.

Joan and family. I was so sad to hear of Bryan’s passing -my deepest condolences to you and all your family. Bryan was a kind . caring , and thoughtful person who did his best at all times for both clients and co-workers. . You are all in my thoughts and prayers at this time.

Alison, Joan and family. Sad to hear this news today. Brian was a great youth ambassador who has left a true legacy behind..He spent many career and volunteer years advocating for policy changes in the Corrections field. But of also great importance are the stories and memories you have as a family. May these find strength and comfort for you in the days ahead.
On another note, we too spend time in the beautiful state of CT with our daughter,Meghan and family. Wishing now I had known he did too. Take care .Karen and Paul Alexander .

Our paths crossed at work and in the social work profession many years ago. Rest in peace, Bryan. Condolences to family and friends.

Joan and family
So sorry to hear of Bryan’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this time. RIP Bryan


No words can express my deepest sympathy to you and your family at this time. Your dad was one of a kind: very caring, supportive and loving. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. May you find strength in the love and support of your family and those around you. Sending hugs and love to you!

Love Wanda

Sincere condolences to Bryan’s family. My thoughts and prayers are with you. May he rest in peace.

Kathy, Allison, Joan & families,
We were deeply saddened to learn of Bryan’s passing. He was a such a great soul – strong, compassionate, witty and kind. A life well lived for sure. Gone too soon. Our thoughts are with you all.

Allison, Joan and families,
My deepest sympathy to your families on the passing of Bryan. I was shocked when i heard the news. My your loving memories of Bryan help you through this difficult time.
Max & Ken

Our sincere sympathy to your family for your loss. You are all in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.

So sorry to hear of Bryan’s passing. Regardless of his situation, he always had an incredibly positive and upbeat attitude towards life. Deepest sympathies to all. RIP.

Mary & Bruce

Joan, so sorry to learn that Bryan has passed. He was indeed among the best co-workers and friends I ever had during my career in government. Take good care of yourself, Joan. Rest easy, Bryan.

Joan and all Brian’s family…..sincere condolences. Thinking of you all during these difficult days.

To Bryan’s family…. so very sorry for your loss, wishing you comfort & strength at this time. Bryan was indeed an incredible person and We know his memory will be cherished by many of the lives he touched so genuinely.
Hennessey Family, Kilbride

I so sorry to hear of your great loss .
Deepest condolences and prayers for you and your family.
Sue Riedel Saullo 66’

Dear Allison,

Our deepest condolences on the passing of your dad. He was such a lovely and thoughtful man, and I have only wonderful memories of time spent with your family back when I still lived at home. Caroline and I also had an amazing visit with him in Ferryland a while back (I think that was the last time we saw him). He was clearly so happy there. I was always amazed at how positive he remained, in the face of all he endured. What an amazing man. Thinking of you especially now – all our love.

I was very sorry to learn of your Dad’s passing. I have such great memories of you, your Mom and Dad ‘back in the day’ at St. Andrew’s. I especially recall how proud they both were of you! It was so nice to reconnect with you several years ago at LMAC. I will be thinking of you and your family as you say ‘Farewell’ to your Dad.

Kathy and family,
I was saddened to learn of Bryan’s passing. I did not know him well, but enjoyed meeting him. The entire family is in my thoughts and prayers.

Joan so sorry to hear that Bryan passed- I have some good memories from university days and after -always enjoyed time spent with Bryan and Chris-take care

Allison, Kathy, Joan, Christy, Erin, Gracie and families,

We were so shocked and saddened to hear of Bryan’s passing. We have so many lovely memories of you all gathering at Mom’s on our annual Boxing Day festivities. Bryan had always a way of making everyone feel important and he engaged in robust conversation no matter your age. Like all of you, he had a great sense of humor. I know Mom has so many more memories of you all from your childhood days in Kilbride.
May you all find comfort in your memories and may God bless you all.

Stan, Dot, Paul, Tina, Anna and Matthew.

I’m sorry for your loss Brian was a friend and we I will miss him I know him from Betty Purcell I know some of the family and that rest in peace Linda Richards

It is aways sad to hear of the death of anyone but especially so for the death of a childhood friend. May Bryan rest in peace.

Words seem inadequate to express my sadness over the passing of Bryan. The way he lived life and faced his challenges with such courage and faith, was an inspiration for me as I faced my own trials. However, those we love can never be more than a thought away; for as long as there is a memory, they live on in our hearts.

Dear Joan and The families.
It was with great sadness to hear of Bryan’s passing. I know how close and supportive your family was to each other. May memories of times shared sustain you at this difficult time.
Our heartfelt condolences and prayers are with you.
Clare and Mike Sikorsky

We are so sorry to hear of Bryan’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. May he Rest In Peace.

Kathy, Allison and family, you know how much we feel your loss, as Elaine & I have lost a great friend. Bryan was always considered my mentor throughout our careers in Social Services and its subsequent re-inventions. In that role, one of his many gifts to me was an appreciation of his witty brand of black humour in the most difficult situations, and how to somehow get away with it in more polite company. A product of his Irish heritage, I suppose. Beyond the many years of close work, he became a trusted friend to Elaine and me, as well as an inspiration for the way in which he dealt with his considerable challenges. Please know that you were a rock in helping him through that journey. We sure wish we could be there now, but our thoughts are constantly with you.

Kathy and Allison , so sorry to hear about Bryan passing. He was a very kind and welcoming person. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.
Freeman, Helena Churchill & Family

Joan and families
Our prayers and thoughts and thoughts are with you all at this very difficult time. We trust the memories of all the good times you shared with Bryan will comfort and strengthen you in the days ahead..

We are so sorry to hear of Brian’s passing. He was always a kind and caring person and a good friend. Our thoughts are with you, Allison and Kathy.

Kathy and Allison, we are so so sorry for the loss of Bryan. Bryan was so thoughtful and always kind and always made you feel welcome, Mom dearly loved him from the very first day he came here. Please know our thoughts and prayers are with you. Barb, Ernie, Melissa, Nicholas and Carissa.

Kathy and Allison,
My heart is heavy for your loss. Bryan was a very special man and friend. His humor and strength and determination was an example for us all. His love for his family was very strong and deep. I remember when I first met Bryan when he came to Connecticut. I feel extremely blessed that I can call him my friend and that he blessed my life with his presence. You are in my heart and prayers. May God shroud you with peace and comfort at this difficult time.
Rest In Peace Bryan you fought the good fight and now you may rest. Godspeed.

Allison and Kathy,
Nancy and I are so sad to hear of Bryan’s passing. Please accept our deepest condolences. He was a wonderful man and a joy to be around. He will surely be missed.
Danny and Nancy Barrett

I was so sorry to hear about Bryan. I have known him for many years and have enjoyed many conversations about his work and family. I loved his never ending zest for life. My heart goes out the Kathy, Alison and Joan and all the members of the family. Life is short, but love is forever. Take care.