Deborah Lum Purviance

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 6, 2011

Oct. 18, 1948 – Aug. 4, 2011

PORT GIBSON — Services for Deborah Lum Purviance, 62, of Port Gibson, who died Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011, at her home, Oak Square, after a brief battle with cancer, will be at 11 a.m. Monday at Oak Square on Church Street with the Rev. David Harrision of Port Gibson United Methodist Church officiating.

Burial will follow at Wintergreen Cemetery under the direction of Guion-Glenwood Funeral Home in Port Gibson.

Email newsletter signup

Visitation will be from 9 a.m. until service time Monday at Oak Square.

Deborah was a near lifelong resident of Port Gibson and Claiborne County.

Deborah graduated from Port Gibson High in 1966, and later studied art under Marie Hull at Mississippi College. Deborah was assistant manager at Lum’s Department Store until it was sold in 1988.

To many, Deborah was best known for spearheading the 1800s Spring Festival held at Oak Square. The Spring Festival exhibited an archetypal and rebirth of a festival common to similar communities during the mid 19th Century era. The Spring Festival was listed as one of the “Top 20 Events of the Southeast” (Southeast Festival and Events Association.)

Deborah demonstrated her talents in a number of ways. Deborah was practiced painter, managed a sizable staff at her business, Oak Square Bed and Breakfast, refurbished home furnishings, genealogist, organized and cataloged five generations of family and local history. She could take scraps of material and fashion tasteful apparel, furniture coverings, faux-finish floors and manufacture house draperies.

To others, Deborah was referred to as “The Last Southern Belle.” Being that Deborah was proficient in knowledge of the history and lifestyle of day-today activities of 19th Century society and life, Deborah was motivated and able to reproduce a number of dresses and uniforms of the era.

After receiving Oak Square Bed-and-Breakfast, Deborah transformed a struggling business into one with great potential. Her business and social skills and vision caused her to “think outside the box” and foster a “new Interest” in lodging in Port Gibson.

Deborah’s family life was varied. Her selfless devotion to her family was demonstrated in her care for her youngest child, Mary Elizabeth. For a number of years, Deborah set aside a number of her dreams and ambitions to assist Mary and minister to her handicapped needs. Deborah was there to assist her daughter, Martha Ker, in her time of surgical crisis all the while caring for her aging mother. In later years, she and her daughter, Martha, enjoyed a number of evenings learning ballroom dancing in Jackson.

Deborah was preceded in death by her third child, Mary Elizabeth Purviance; her father, William Douglas Lum Sr.; and one brother, Albert Brady Lum;

Survivors include her mother, Martha Brady Lum of Port Gibson; one sister, Sandra Lum Knellinger of Ridgeland; one brother, William Douglas Lum Jr. of Port Gibson; three children, William Lum Purviance of Bentonia, Martha Ker Purviance Shannon of Port Gibson and Hollis “Trip” Purviance III of Brandon; her former husband and best friend, Hollis Langston Purviance of Port Gibson; five grandchildren; 12 nieces and nephews; and 12 great-nieces and great-nephews.