Timothy W. Purington, 58, of Holyoke died at home on Feb. 4 in the loving care of his family and friends, after a long battle with cancer. As generations of his family before him, Tim was raised on a farm in Colrain, Mass. He was educated in the local schools: Colrain Central and Mohawk Trail High School. He attended Johnson and Wales Culinary Institute and enjoyed an early career as a chef. Later, he pursued a Master’s degree at Cambridge College in Educational Administration. He lived in Northampton for many years before settling in Holyoke in 1996.
Tim never let himself be defined by his illness. To the end, he had life and he lived life fully. His cross-country road trip with his son Drew in 2017 to experience the solar eclipse was priceless; and his journey on the Camino in Spain and his many trips to the island of St. Barth’s with his favorite guy, Tom Synan, were always joyous and memorable events. Tim had a heart that matched his 6’8” frame. He loved Drew and Tom, and the rest of his family and friends. He loved cooking, gardening, his assortment of pets: his dogs Chewy and Roscoe and his cat Buttons (a cat with a French passport), and he loved the City of Holyoke. Tim was dedicated to Holyoke and served two terms as a Holyoke City Councilor, representing Ward 4 and served on many local boards and committees. He was proudest of his work as Director of Harm Reduction for Tapestry Health, where he developed and implemented legal syringe exchange programs in Northampton and Holyoke. Countless lives were saved thanks to Tim’s compassion and his refusal to give up on anyone, especially the more vulnerable members of society. In appreciation for all that Tim did for Holyoke and in recognition that he will be missed by many, Mayor Alex Morse graciously ordered City flags to be flown at half-staff in Tim’s honor.
Tim was predeceased by his proud parents, Lillian Mae (Joy) and Walter Purington. In addition to Drew Simpson-Purington and Tom Synan, Tim is survived by his step-father, Lawrence Shearer; his siblings Michael Purington, Donna MacLeay, Joan Powell, and Lee Purington and their spouses; and many nieces and nephews whom he loved dearly. A memorial will be held in the coming weeks. Details will be shared as they are finalized. Barry J. Farrell Funeral Home is handling arrangements.