May 18, 1946 – April 27, 2015
Longtime Kachemak Bay resident Rob- ert Purpura, 68, succumbed to the sea on April 27, 2015, while traveling alone in his skiff from Jakolof Bay to his home in Sel- dovia. When it was discovered he was over- due many of his friends rushed to search the area. His boat was found adrift with the
outboard idling off of MacDonald Spit and his body was found floating some distance away.
A celebration of Robert’s life will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 17, 2015 at the Linwood in Seldovia. His family invites friends to share their memories of Robert with potluck dishes, stories and pictures.
Robert was born May 18, 1946, in New York, N.Y., and raised in Portsmouth, N.H. He worked in the food service industry in many places on the eastern seaboard. In the early 1970s he left his position as a maitre d and sommelier at the Country Club in New York and hitchhiked to Alaska. He eventually found his way to Homer and was chef at Land’s End Resort for a time. He was an avid skier and adventurer.
Having a passion for the ocean and small wooden boats, Robert found his way to the south side of the bay and began to set-net salmon in Kasitsna Bay in 1978. A devastating disabling accident happened to him that year, but he picked himself up, met and married his wife in 1980 and continued in the fishery for many years. He and his fam- ily lived afloat in Little Tutka until moving to Seldovia 15 years ago. He also made a business of direct marketing salmon for a group of fellow southern district setnetters.
Robert had a remarkable gift for gourmet cooking. He loved to entertain and watch people enjoy his food. For a lot of years he was galley cook extraordinaire on many fishing boats, tugs, rig tenders, etc. Robert had taken his cooking to a whole new level recently and was extremely proud of this. He fed his family and friends well.
He was a City of Seldovia council member for a few years and served on various boards and projects. He also served on the Seldovia Fish & Game Advisory Board. Robert’s knowledge, expertise and advice was sought by many. He had a no-nonsense perspective and could get to the gist of any issue.
“Robert’s personality was magnetic and he had an amazing sense of humor. He was intelligent, boisterous, sensitive, determined, principled, good-natured, warm hearted, loving and so, so much more. He had a strong work ethic and incredible forti- tude. Robert’s life touched so many people and his passing leaves a huge hole in all our hearts,” his family said.
He was preceeded in death by his parents, Joseph Purpura and Pauline Caballero, and brother-in-law Marshall Rosi.
He is survived by his loving wife of 35 years, Renée Purpura, beautiful daughters Rochelle Hasley and Rosalia Purpura, both of whom he was so proud and honored by; his son, Jabez LeBret, who he hadn’t seen for several years; loving sister and brother- in-law Rosalia and Cosmo Nardella of Bur- lington, Mass.; brothers, Joseph Purpura of Hawaii and Kenneth Purpura of Oregon; and many nieces and nephews.