Well-known Albany Episcopal deacon dies at 81

Well-known Albany Episcopal deacon dies at 81
Deacon Jim Purks. (Source: WALB)
The reporter Jim Purks interviewing Martin Luther King, Jr. (Source: Facebook)
The reporter Jim Purks interviewing Martin Luther King, Jr. (Source: Facebook)
Deacon Purks with President Jimmy Carter. (Source: Facebook)
Deacon Purks with President Jimmy Carter. (Source: Facebook)
Deacon Purks worked as a Phoebe chaplain and at St. Clare's Center. (Source: Facebook)
Deacon Purks worked as a Phoebe chaplain and at St. Clare's Center. (Source: Facebook)
Deacon Joy Davis. (Source: WALB)
Deacon Joy Davis. (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An Albany deacon, who had an illustrious career in journalism, politics and business before his ordination, has died.

Episcopal Church Deacon Jim Purks passed away Monday. He was 81 years old.

Purks, a Georgia native, began his career as a journalist, covering important civil rights era stories, including the 1963 Birmingham, Alabama church bombing. Four young girls were killed by the Ku Klux Klan and Purks' notes on the incident for the Associated Press are now kept at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., according to friends.

Purks worked for a Florida senator before joining the Carter Administration as the assistant press secretary. Purks went on to work for several major corporations.

Purks made his way back to his home state, first working with Habitat for Humanity and then the Episcopal Church in Americus and Albany.

His fellow St. Paul's deacon, Joy Davis, described Purks as a humble servant of God, who thought of himself as an "encourager".

"Jim never met a stranger. He never saw people as anyone but a member of the human race, with a little chip of Christ within them."

Purks is well known as a hospital chaplain and served with other organizations across the area.

Purks' celebration of life will be Sunday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Albany followed by interment at St Patrick's.

Copyright 2018 WALB. All rights reserved.