Earlene P. King (affectionately known as ‘Earl the Pearl’, ‘Kingsley’ and ‘Duchess’ to those who loved her), was born on July 30, 1934 to the late Haywood Purnell, Sr., and Mae Pitts Purnell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
Earlene was educated in the Philadelphia School System, graduating from West Philadelphia High School, followed by a series of courses supporting her career as an educator in the Philadelphia parochial and public-school systems.
Accepting Christ at an early age, Earlene began her Christian walk at Tindley Temple United Methodist Church in South Philadelphia, continued at Transfiguration of our Lord Church in West Philadelphia, and concluded her walk at Saint Raymond of Penafort Church, in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia, PA.
On the 28th of May 1965, Earlene was united in holy matrimony to Clarence E. King. From this union, daughter, Jacqueline King was born. Although they gave birth to one, they were blessed with and assumed the role of mother and father to Donna Purnell Ackridge. Earlene also provided loving motherly support for her niece and nephews, Octavia Renee Cooper, and Garnett & Mark Purnell, and shared a special bond with members of the ‘Funky Five’ (Lynn, Renee, Jackie, Larry & Lamar) as well.
Maintaining an active lifestyle, reading, listening to music, learning new things, being in the presence of children, playing card games with the ladies (Marion, Ruth, Ethel, Karen, Shay, Linda, Lynn, and Jackie), becoming godmother to Deanna Pringle, and laughing (for hours) bought immeasurable joy to her life.
To know Earlene was to love her, and the sentiment was mutual - But the bond she shared with grandchildren, Taylor and Devon was indescribable. They shared a connection that transcends time and understanding. Taylor, her favorite dance partner, was the Ying to her Yang, and Devon assumed the role of (self-appointed) protector and man of the house.
It has pleased Almighty God to call one of his servants’ home from labor to reward, one that we loved so dearly, Earlene departed this life on Monday, February 1, 2021 at home with family by her side. Two of her siblings preceded her in death, Haywood Purnell, Jr., and Patricia Spragins. As matriarch of the family, she leaves behind to cherish her memory: Siblings: Joseph Purnell, Sr. (Marion), Stanley Purnell (Cynthia); Daughters: Jacqueline King, Donna P. Ackridge (Vernon), Octavia R. Cooper (Kenneth, Sr.); Grandchildren: Taylor Nickens, Devon Purnell Ackridge, Sr., Ciarra and Lauren Lambert, Kenneth, Jr. and Isaiah Cooper; Great-Grandchildren: Jeremiah Lambert, Devon Purnell Ackridge, Jr.; Nieces and Nephews: Garnett Purnell (Sally), Mark Purnell (Gwen), Vincent Spragins (Signe), Victor Spragins, Joseph Purnell, Jr. (Emanda), Keith Purnell (Tanya), Hassan Purnell (Elena), Sakinah Purnell (Manon), Atiya Riddick, Tarah Clark (Brian), Shareefah Spencer (Robert); a host of Grand & Great-Grand Nieces and Nephews whom she loved dearly but are too numerous to mention; Best friends, Ruth Pringle and Marion Purnell; Thanksgiving Pie Partner, Crystal (Shay) Nelson; Secret-Snack partner, James Clausell; Sunday Phone-Buddy/Personal Comedian, Victor Spragins; and a host of extended family and friends.
Earlene was the nucleus of the family and led by example. She will be greatly missed.
Submitted With Love,
If you wish to pay your respects, contributions can be made to:
The Earlene King St. Jude Gift Fund
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