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Marilyn Jean Purmal has passed

Dec. 09, 2020
Category: Obituary

Marilyn Jean Purmal passed away peacefully at her home in San Francisco the morning of Friday November 27, 2020 in the presence of loved ones. She was 87 years old. Ms. Purmal was born September 9, 1933 in Madison, Wisconsin as the middle daughter to Norris Roger and Margaret Delila Gundlach and was raised in Wisconsin. Jean remained close to her older sister Wanda and younger sister Janice, both of whom predeceased her.

Jean graduated from East Madison High School in 1951 where she played the clarinet in the marching band. She began college at University of Wisconsin, Madison that year. She graduated from University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1955 with a BS in Medical Technology.

Jean married her husband Gerald W Purmal on November 11, 1955 in Madison, WI. They spent their first years together in Madison and she gave birth to their son Tony. They moved to Long Beach, California in 1961 where she gave birth to her daughter Kate. When her mother passed in 1963 her two half brothers, Tim and Del Thomas, came to live with the family.

Immediately after graduating from college she worked in a research facility studying cholesterol in lab mice and was instrumental creating methods for cholesterol testing. Though she stopped working for several years after moving to California, she started working again after moving to Santa Rosa, CA in 1965 with her family when both of her children were in school. She and the family moved down to San Carlos, CA in 1969 and shortly thereafter she began work as a medical technologist at Menlo Medical Clinic in Menlo Park, CA and subsequently became the medical laboratory manager for a clinic in Redwood City, CA. She also served as an officer for the Mid Peninsula chapter of the American Society of Medical Technologists. She finished her career in the late 80’s when she worked on the customer support team for Monoclonal Antibodies in Santa Clara, CA, a job she loved and where she made numerous new friends with her much younger colleagues.

Jean was an avid volunteer, as a tutor helping students with reading in San Carlos and then again helping preschoolers in the English as a second language program after moving to San Francisco in 2004. She also volunteered with elderly women, visiting them in their homes, taking them shopping and bringing them her famous baked goods and treats.

Ms. Purmal was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother. She loved to bake, and always had a full jar of cookies on the counter. She was a great cook and lovingly prepared meals and treats for her family and friends. Jean was famous for her Choo Choo Train cake, a family tradition which she made for Tony, Colin and Ben and Kate’s son Cole on their birthdays.

Jean loved to travel, and her favorite was the trip she and Jerry took to Paris, Frankfurt and Munich with their grandson Colin and nephew Ben. In Munich they visited the BMW museum, which was a highlight of the trip. She also loved the theater and the symphony, and dining out at many fabulous restaurants in San Francisco. She was also a caregiver for Ben and Colin during their early years. Jean had a wicked sense of humor and was would often lighten the mood with her wry observations and “zingers.” She also enjoyed show tunes, and as she cooked and baked and did chores around the house, she could be heard joyfully singing her favorite songs.

Jean was smart, kind and generous. She was selflessly devoted to her family and was a sincere and caring friend and a great listener. She was especially loved by her children’s friends for whom she created a warm and safe home where they were always welcome and always invited to share a meal at the family dinner table. Jean extended her kind spirit to all she came in contact with and made a loving difference in so many lives.

Jean leaves to celebrate her life her husband Jerry, her children Kate (James) and Tony (Janet), her half-brothers Tim, Del Thomas and Roger, her half-sister Renee, and her grandchildren Colin, Mariah and Cole, and many other beloved extended family members.

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