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Melva J. Purnell

November 22, 1947 April 25, 2019
Melva J. Purnell
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Obituary for Melva J. Purnell

Melva J. Purnell, 71, passed away Thursday, April 25th at Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care in Naperville. She was born on November 22, 1947 in Granada, Mississippi to Willie and Mollie (nee Townes) Purnell; and moved with her family to Chicago as a child.

Melva graduated from Marshall High School and made a career working in medical administration for the Veterans' Administration Hospitals. She was united in marriage to John H. Salentine on November 18, 1984 on the island of Oahu. She loved reading, travel, spending time with her family and a good glass of Champagne. Melva was also a member of the Red Hat Club and Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Aurora.

She is survived by her husband John of Aurora; her sons, retired Lt. Colonel USAF John Salentine (Valerie) of Gainesville, VA, Bill Salentine (Tamara McQueen-Salentine) of Aurora, IL and Michael Salentine (Bethany Henrichs-Salentine) of Glen Ellyn, IL; her grandchildren, Chris, Leah, Anna and Liam Salentine and great-grandson Sean Salentine Fagan; her sisters, Beverly Cobble of Dolton, IL and Judy Purnell of Tampa, FL; her brothers, Charles Purnell of Eau Claire, WI, and Zaphania A I Israel of Mississippi; several nieces and nephews, including Courtney Cobble of South Lake Tahoe, CA, Kenya Purnell of Baltimore, MD and Elaini Mazafos of Tennessee; and countless friends. She was preceded in death by her parents; her sisters, Angela and Linda and her beloved dog Packers.

A Celebration of Life will take place later this spring.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Melva's name to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation at

Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Naperville, was entrusted with arrangements.

To plant a tree in memory of Melva J. Purnell, visit the Tribute Store.


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