Francis T. Purcell

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Francis Thomas Purcell (August 11, 1918 – May 18, 2014) was a Republican politician who was county executive of Nassau County, New York (1978–87). He served as a Village Trustee/Mayor of the Village of Malverne, a member of the New York State Assembly, Supervisor of the Town of Hempstead and Presiding Supervisor of the Town of Hempstead, before becoming County Executive in 1978. After resigning in 1987, Purcell became a political commentator for Cablevision's news channel News 12 Long Island. In 2004, a section of land formerly called Hempstead Plains was dedicated to Purcell in honor of his service and dedication to Nassau County.[1]

Early life[edit]

Purcell was born in 1918[1] to Thomas (d. 1942) and Annette (d. 1972) Purcell [2] on 11 August 1918 in Brooklyn, New York.[3] A star athlete at Malverne High School, he was signed to play baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers but never played for them because he joined the army in 1941 and was discharged in 1945 with the rank of captain.[3]


Purcell was elected mayor of Malverne in 1955.[3] In June 1964, he challenged the party designee in the Republican Party primary for Nassau's 1st district's seat in the New York State Assembly and won the nomination.[4] He was a member of the State Assembly in 1965. On June 18, he was appointed as Supervisor of the Town of Hempstead, to fill the vacancy created by the appointment of Ralph G. Caso as Presiding Supervisor.[5] Purcell was elected in November 1965 to succeed himself, and then re-elected twice.[6]

He was elected to the post of County Executive of Nassau County, in 1977. He secured the nomination of the Republican Party over fellow Republican and incumbent county executive Ralph G. Caso, who also opposed Purcell in the general election. He took office in January 1978.[7][8]

Purcell easily won re-election in 1981[9] and 1985.[10] In December 1986, near the end of the first year of his third term, he announced his retirement from politics and his intention to join Cablevision as a political analyst and commentator.[11]


Purcell has 3 children, Patricia, Kim, and Diane, seven grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. He resided in West Palm Beach, Florida with his wife Barbara, where he died on May 18, 2014, aged 95.[12]


  1. ^ a b Mummolo, Jonathan (2004-08-12). "65 Acres at Mitchel Field Preserve parcel dedicated to Purcell". Newsday.
  2. ^ "Mrs. Thomas Purcell". The New York Times. 1972-02-01. p. 40.
  3. ^ a b c Goldman, Ari L. (1977-03-20). "Purcell: 'I Like a Good Fight'". New York Times. p. 394. Retrieved 2009-11-24.
  4. ^ Silver, Roy E. (1964-06-03). "An Insurgent Republican Wins Assembly Contest in Nassau". New York Times. p. 31. Retrieved 2009-11-24.
  5. ^ Nassau Republicans Surprised As Farrington Decides to Quit in the New York Times on June 19, 1965 (subscription required)
  6. ^ "Purcell Says He Will Leave Post in Nassau". New York Times. 1986-12-02. p. B1.
  7. ^ Silver, Roy R. (1977-11-09). "Purcell Leads G.O.P. in Nassau, Taking County Executive's Post". New York Times. p. 32.
  8. ^ "Purcell Installed in Nassau". New York Times. 1978-01-08. p. 18.
  9. ^ McQuiston, John T. (1981-11-04). "Purcell Wins by Landslide in Nassau Election". New York Times. p. B6. Retrieved 2009-11-24.
  10. ^ "Major Incumbents Win On L.I. and in Rockland". New York Times. 1985-11-07. p. B8.
  11. ^ "Purcell to Become A Cable TV Analyst". New York Times. 1986-12-03. p. B4.
  12. ^ Notice of death of Francis Purcell,; accessed May 19, 2014.
New York Assembly
Preceded by
Anthony Barbiero
New York State Assembly
Nassau County, 1st District

Succeeded by
district abolished
Political offices
Preceded by
Ralph G. Caso
Nassau County Executive
Succeeded by
Thomas Gulotta