Helping Families and Friends Honor Their Loved One

Zelpha L. LaFlair

Funeral services for Zelpha L. LaFlair, age 81, of Ogdensburg, NY, will be held on Friday June 15, 2018 at 2:00PM at Frary Funeral Home with Rev. David Hart officiating. Zelpha passed away on Wednesday, June 6, 2018, at Claxton Hepburn Medical Center, surrounded by her loving family.

Zelpha is survived by her loving husband, Carl R. LaFlair; two daughters, Bonnie Purtell of Ogdensburg, NY and Caroline Purtell-Ward and her companion, Gilbert Bray of Liverpool, NY; a son, Jonathan Purtell and his wife, Kelly, of Plessis, NY; a sister, Florence Webb of Constable, NY; eleven grandchildren, twenty great grandchildren, three great great grandchildren and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Zelpha is predeceased by four sons all in infancy, Walter Purtell, Jr., Charles Purtell, William Purtell and George Purtell; a step son, John R. Purtell; two step daughters, Florence Belle Purtell Koegel and Patricia Purtell; a brother, James A. Webb; two step brothers, Francis McPherson and William McPherson and her step mother, Mary Webb; a granddaughter, Elizabeth LaRue and a grandson, Timothy Purtell.

Zelpha was born on June 2, 1937, in Russell, NY, the daughter of William H. Webb and Dorothy Durham Webb. She graduated from Ogdensburg Free Academy. Zelpha married Walter Purtell on September 14, 1958 in Ogdensburg. He predeceased her on May 9, 1968. Zelpha later married Carl LaFlair on December 15, 1987, in Ogdensburg with Justice of the Peace, Judge Silver, officiating. Zelpha was a homemaker most her of her life.

Zelpha enjoyed spending her time knitting, crocheting, reading and enjoyed taking photos. One of her greatest joys was spending time with her grandson, David M. Ward and was especially proud of having her first granddaughter, Joy Rae.

A special thank you to John Oakes who helped make Zelpha’s life easier and more enjoyable.

Donations may be made in Zelpha’s memory to the St. Lawrence Valley SPCA, PO BOX 594, Ogdensburg, NY 13669, Claxton Hepburn Medical Center Foundation, 214 King Street, Ogdensburg, NY 13669 and the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22478, Oklahoma City, OK 73123.


  • Jonathan Purtell Posted June 8, 2018 2:45 PM

    A special mention to all her grandchildren: Joy Ray (GA), Kim Gordon (Watertown), David Ward (GA), William Ward (Liverpool), Michael Burns (Cape Vincent), Daniel Burns (Philadelphia, NY), Christen Arnold (Plessis), Cassandra Purtell (Plessis), Carissa Purtell (Plessis), Phillip LaRue (Mattydale) and Chad Purtell (CA). All will miss her immensely and keep her in their hearts.

  • Lori Smithers Posted June 11, 2018 10:12 AM

    Dear Bonnie, Carl and family,

    I am so sorry to hear of your loved one’s passing. Zelpha will always have a special place in my heart. I got to know her through the Annual Early Residents Reunion at United Helpers and I always enjoyed our chats and our time together.

    Over the years, I would see Zelpha at Wal-Mart from time to time and always made a point to visit with her and catch up and hear what was new in her life. She was a very kind lady and always had a smile on her face. I cannot imagine the loss you are all feeling.

    Please know she touched the lives of many people over the years and I know her friends will miss her at the reunions. Thinking of you all and keeping you in my prayers.

    • Bonnie Purtell Posted June 12, 2018 12:31 AM

      Thank You Lori. You made her life so much happier when you found her sister. She was always talking about how wonderful you always were to her. Thank you so much for making my mother’s life happier and reminding her of all the years she had in orphanage. Her stories will remain in my heart as will all the stories of the early residents.

      • Lori Smithers Posted June 15, 2018 9:21 AM

        You’re welcome, Bonnie. It was truly always my pleasure and I think I looked forward to each year’s reunion as much as anyone else did. Great people and great friends made. And thank you for always keeping in touch and attending the reunions with your mother. And for taking photos -I bet you have lots of memories captured over the years…cherish them all!

        You will all remain in my thoughts and prayers. Sending hugs….take care.

  • Casey Denicola Posted June 11, 2018 12:32 PM

    Zelpha was such a sweet, kind and caring person. Although she was my brother in law Jon’s mother, she treated me like a daughter and she especially treated my children as her own grandchild’s. Not a year went by that she didn’t send a Christmas card. And all the lovely hand painted Christmas ornaments she has made me over the years I will treasure. She will truly be missed. To my brother in law Jon, my sister Kelly, Carrie and the rest of the Purtell family, I’m sorry for your loss and I am here for anything any of you need. ❤️

    • Jonathan Purtell Posted June 12, 2018 8:47 AM

      Thank you, Casey. it means a lot to us.

  • Sandy Putney Posted June 12, 2018 2:10 AM

    Bonnid and all, please accept my condolences on your loss. It is never eady. May your memories bring you some solice.

    • Bonnie Purtell Posted June 29, 2018 12:38 AM

      Thank you Sandy, you are such a dear sweet friend. You were right when you said it would be different. I miss talking with my mother on the phone for hours in the late afternoon. I have reached for the phone to call her many times and then remembered she wasn’t there. You have been so understanding and caring. Thank you for being there for me and for being my dear sweet friend. Hugs, May God bless!

  • Bill Poole Posted June 15, 2018 8:33 AM

    Dear family and friends of Zelpha,
    Zelpha was one of my 149 siblings from the United Helpers orphanage and I always regretted not staying closer in touch, but have always felt great pleasure in seeing her and Bonnie at the re-unions.
    Words, nor tears of sympathy can ever bring back the loving touch of those tender hands; nor the music of her voice, now stilled.
    Zelpha, thank you for being such a beautiful part of our lives. May your soul wing it’s way to Heaven as surely has it has found a home in our hearts.
    Love, Billy and Dot Poole

    • Bonnie Purtell Posted June 29, 2018 12:47 AM

      Thank you Billy and Dot. You will always be members of our family. It was always such a wonderful time hearing all the memories from the days at the orphanage. My mother would tell me so many wonderful things, she would say that when some of them happened that they weren’t always good then, but looking back made her smile and sometimes she’d laugh. Her voice still reminds me in my thoughts and my dreams of days gone by. She loved you both and always looked forward to the reunions. She was unable to attend the last couple, due to her illnesses and because she took it so very hard when Ron crossed over. It seems that God had a more important reunion for her to attend, when she was promoted to glory, (the highest promotion a soldier of God can achieve, she was reunited with family and friends who have crossed over before us. In time I know we will see her again on the other side. My love to you both. Hugs, May God Bless! Bonnie

  • John E. Oakes Posted June 27, 2018 3:35 PM

    I miss you so much ma. I know you are with the Lord dwelling in his house.

    • Bonnie Purtell Posted June 29, 2018 12:48 AM

      Thank you John. Thank you so much for the kind words you spoke at Ma’s funeral. You were a comfort along with Pastor Hart. May God Bless!

      • John E Oakes Posted July 5, 2018 11:20 AM

        You are very welcome Bonnie.

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