Sandra Novy Purcell, 71, of Media, an educator, civic activist and singer, died of cancer Saturday at Neighborhood Hospice in West Chester.
Mrs. Purcell grew up in Kingston, Pa., and earned a bachelor's degree from Temple University. In 1961, she married Bernard A. Purcell Jr., with whom she had two children. After they divorced in 1972, Mrs. Purcell earned a master's degree in speech pathology from Temple, and initiated a program for developmentally delayed preschoolers at the Elwyn Institute in Media.
Mrs. Purcell left Elwyn after a decade to become director of the Delaware County Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program. She was then assistant to Joseph F. Battle, president judge of Delaware County Court, on drug and alcohol issues.
Active in Republican politics, Mrs. Purcell served on the Upper Providence Township Zoning Board from 1992 to 1994, and then on the Upper Providence Township Council, representing the Third District, until 2002.
After Battle's death in 2001, Mrs. Purcell worked part-time at Waterloo Gardens in Devon. For the last three years, she was a part-time librarian at Penncrest High School in Middletown, Delaware County.
Mrs. Purcell was past president of the Valley Forge Chorus. The group sings a cappella four-part harmony, and is a member of Sweet Adelines International. She sang with the chorus in 2003, when it won the Midsize Chorus championship in a Sweet Adelines competition.
"She was most happy," said her daughter, Lea, "when she was hosting a party or a family dinner, singing with the Valley Forge Chorus, snuggling with her dog, Cosmo, or in Ocean City, N.J., where she spent many summers with friends and family."
In 1983, Mrs. Purcell married Warren D. Mulloy, a lawyer. He died in 1992. She also was preceded in death by a former husband, who died in 2006.
In addition to her daughter, she is survived by a son, Bernard A. "Chip" III; a sister; a brother; and two grandchildren.
A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. today at D'Anjolell Memorial Home, 2811 West Chester Pike, Broomall. Friends may call from 10 a.m.