PURYEAR, JACK MARTIN (1923 ~ ). Jack Martin Puryear, business executive, was born in Beaumont, Texas on August 8, 1923, to Oney B. and Ida Lillian Pittman Puryear. He graduated from Beaumont High School in 1941 and attended Lamar College until 1942, when he joined the U. S. Navy. He was called to active duty in 1943 and was trained as an aerial photographer and served with the Fleet Air Photo Squadron One.
During World War II, Puryear's photographs were used to make pre-invasion maps of islands in the South and Western Pacific. He also, before Japan's surrender, made flights over Japan to help prepare for a U. S. invasion. For his service, he was awarded seven battle stars and three air medals. He was honorably discharged as a Photographer's Mate First Class at Camp Wallace, Texas on March 2, 1946.
Following his separation from the Navy, Puryear returned to Texas and joined the U. S. Navy Reserve and finished his education at the University of Texas at Austin. He received a bachelor of business arts in May of 1948. Shortly after graduation, he married the former Janet Marie Felsman on July 8, 1950. Together they had four children: Jack, Jr.; Jo Ann; James; and John.
In 1951, Puryear was once again called to active duty, this time to take part in the Korean War. For three years, he served as a Supply Officer aboard the USS Philippine Sea CV-47. In all he served 22 years in the U. S. Navy, active and reserve duty, and retired on August 8, 1983, as a Lieutenant Commander.
After the Korean War, Puryear and Roger Hanks started Hanks-Puryear Co., a real estate and general insurance agency. As their business flourished, they purchased, in 1958, Robbins, Montgomery & Nieman Co. and the company became Nieman, Hanks, and Puryear. Throughout the 1980s, the three principal partners retired. Puryear was the last step down in 1988.
Though retired from business, Puryear turned his interests to the Catholic Diocese of Austin. He served as the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Building and Property Committee, and Property Committee and, for his service, he and his wife, Janet, were given Papal Appointments to The Equestrian Order of The Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, the highest honor granted to clergy and laity by the Holy See. Puryear also served as Chairman of this Order for twenty-two years under three different Bishops. The Puryears have also received the Silver Leaf of Jerusalem award from the Holy See.
Puryear has also donated his time to numerous civic activities, including: the Holy Cross Hospital Board, which started Hospice Austin and the Shivers Cancer Treatment Center; the Shivers Cancer Treatment Center Board, where he served as Chairman and Secretary/Treasurer; the Shivers Cancer Foundation Board; Children's Hospital volunteer, Capital City Kiwanis Club, Knights of the Symphony, Sierra Club of Austin, the Austin Chamber of Commerce, and was a founding member of the One Hundred Club of Central Texas.
In 1968, Puryear and Dr. Ralph White, a teacher with the Texas School for the Deaf, secured funding and support through the Hogg Foundation to develop a change in the method of treatment for the deaf in State Hospitals. They helped provide volunteers who could communicate through sign language for hospital staff members, thus allowing the number of deaf patients to be reduced in state facilities.
Information taken from materials provided by Jack M. Puryear.