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Stewart Ephriam Pursel

Died: Thursday, September 18, 2003
Dr. Stewart Ephriam Pursel, 72, died on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2003, of cancer at William Beaumont Hospital.

Born in New Jersey in 1930, Dr. Pursel graduated from Mercersburg Academy in 1948. He was a graduate of Princeton University in 1952 and Yale Medical School in 1956. Dr. Pursel served his country as a captain in the U.S. Air Force from 1957 to 1959 and then received the Winchester Fellowship for Thoracic Surgery at Yale University from 1959 to 1960.

Dr. Pursel was a clinical assistant professor of surgery at Wayne State University School of Medicine from 1970 until his death. He served as chief of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery at Harper Hospital and chief of thoracic surgery at Detroit Receiving Hospital, Sinai Hospital of Detroit and William Beaumont Hospital throughout his distinguished career in the Detroit metropolitan area.

Also a past president of the Detroit Academy of Medicine and a fellow of American College of Chest Surgeons, Dr. Pursel was a clinically published physician with 17 articles appearing in a variety of medical journals.

In October of 2000, Dr. Pursel came to the Wayne County Family Center, Lutheran Social Services of Michigan's homeless shelters for families. Within a month, he was providing free, volunteer medical services to the residents, many of whom have no health insurance. During his time at the Hope Clininc, Dr. Pursel treated more than 200 homeless individuals in a medical clinic on-site that he helped found, design and stock with the necessary equipment.

Dr. Pursel treated everything from seasonal ailments to serious chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, and more than once spotted serious medical problems that required immediate emergency attention. The United Way Community and Lutheran Social Services recognized Dr. Pursel for his dedicated service.

Dr. Pursel was an avid golfer and member of the Detroit Golf Club. He played golf during his education at Princeton University. He was a man of strong faith and served as an elder at Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Mary Louise; his son, Thomas Stewart (Kristin) Pursel; his daughter Linda Pursel (Cameron) Ramsey; six grandchildren; and sister, Jean Pursel (Raymond) Beckwith.

A memorial service was held on Tuesday, Sept. 23, at Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church. Arrangements were made by A.J. Desmond & Sons Funeral Home.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Stewart Pursel Memorial Fund, c/o Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church, 8625 E. Jefferson, Detroit, MI 48214.
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