Tommy Douglas “Doug” Purkey died on Friday, October 19, 2018 after a 17 year battle with addiction that began in high school.
His death was unexpected, yet something his family had lived in fear of for a long time. Though our hearts are beyond broken, we take comfort knowing Doug is finally at peace, his long battle won for him by his Lord and Savior.
Services will be at 2:00 p.m., Thursday, October 25, 2018, at Boxwell Brothers Ivy Chapel. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd.
Douglas was born on October 5, 1985 in Amarillo. He graduated from Amarillo High School in 2004.
When Doug walked into a room, you immediately noticed—partly because he was almost six and a half feet tall, but also because his beautiful smile and warm blue eyes drew people to him, as did his infectious laugh. When Doug was around, people wanted to be near him.
Though he was an addict, that one thing out of the thousands of things that made Doug who he was did not define him. Instead, these are the things he will be remembered for most:
Doug loved his family. His grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters, his aunt and uncle and his cousins meant everything to him. If a family member needed anything, Doug would drop everything he was doing to help them. He loved working on race cars and going stock car racing with his Dad. He enjoyed going fishing with his uncle. And he loved hanging out and just being around his brothers and sisters.
Doug loved children, and they naturally loved him. If there were any kids in a place Doug happened to be, you could bet they would be drawn to him. He loved spending time with his nieces and nephews and they, along with his little brother who is 27 years younger than he, worshipped him. The times they had together will be treasured forever.
Doug loved his chosen profession. He had a successful tree-trimming business on and off for many years. It was a business he loved and did well. He especially liked talking with potential clients to win new jobs. Doug was good at establishing a rapport and making people feel at ease. People wanted to do business with him.
Doug loved his dogs. He had two well-trained pit-bulls and they were each 150 pounds of pure love and affection to him.
Finally, Doug loved people. He would have given his last dollar to anyone who needed it. His final action here on Earth was to donate his organs so that others could have a second chance. His lungs, liver and kidneys will live on. We were hoping his heart would as well, but nobody in the family was surprised when the doctors said it was too big to donate—we’ve known all along his heart was the biggest thing about him.
It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child, and Doug had a pretty big group that had a hand in raising him. Doug is survived by his grandparents, who he lived with for most of his life, Tommy and Ora Lee Hodges, who he affectionately called his “Nan.” He is also survived by his mother, Tina Hedger, his father, Kenny Douglas Purkey, Jr. and wife Kenja, and Kenny’s former partner, Shelly Anthony.
He’s also survived by four brothers, Dylan Hedger, Drayton Hedger, Joey Bybee and wife Laurie, and Beckett Purkey; two sisters, Ashley Osborn and partner T.J. Johnson, and Indigo Cavazos; his uncle J.T. Hodges, his aunt Susan Williams; nieces Makinlea Johnson and Chloe Bybee; nephews Christian Brown, Zander Johnson, and Connor Bybee; his cousins Nicole Dunnam and husband Rocky, Zachary Hodges, Colton Hodges and Morgan Rogers; and his two beloved pitties, Zeus and Athena.
To parents of addicts, never give up on your children—but even more important, tell them every single day how much you love them and remind them that nothing will ever change that. Take pictures every chance you get, and remember to be in them also.
To people who work with addicts, or see the effects of addiction–while this disease has become epidemic and you’re likely overwhelmed, thank you for all that you do. May you continue to see the people in front of you as someone’s son or daughter who is worthy of your effort, rather than just another statistic.
Finally, to anyone who is addicted—know that we see you, that we believe in your ability to create a better life for yourself, and that every day is a new reason to try again.
We are forever changed by Douglas leaving. Our grief knows no bounds, but we are not alone. The parents of over 72,000 teens and adult children who died of addiction last year are grieving along with us. There is almost no one this disease does not touch in some way. The family requests that memorials go to help other families with addicted children by giving to Managed Care Center in Lubbock, or to ARAD here in Amarillo.