Update on Eugene Purdy

Note: Eugene Purdy shot and killed my grandfather E.S. Hutchison in Tulsa Oklahoma on 13 January 1925. Purdy went to trial but was found “not guilty due to temporary insanity”.

Hello Pamela, 

I just read your book and want to share information about Charles Eugene Purdy with you. Eugene Purdy was my grandmother’s older brother.  I’m sorry your grandfather and family suffered the loss inflicted upon them by Eugene. But more importantly, I want you to know that my grandmother told me that the crime ruined his life and he was very remorseful about it. Her exact words were “it ruined his life”. I will share with you what I know. Gene raised the two boys that he and Helen had together. We were told that Helen left the boys with Gene. She was gone. As you may know Charlie Purdy – Gene’s son with Helen, got hit by a car and died in Tulsa. My mom told me that Helen came back for the funeral and they never heard from her again. The other son was Robert Purdy.  Gene and son Robert left Oklahoma and moved to Los Angeles for a short time. Then they moved up to San Fransisco. There Gene would live out the rest of his days- quietly working as an accountant. He remarried and died in 1963. He became a Christian Scientist- the coincidence that he was surprised me when I read your book. His son Robert joined the Navy for WW2. The family pretty much lost touch. The whole murder was painful for the family.  So I guess it was natural for the relations to slip away. Gene was buried in the veteran’s cemetery in Northern California.

Per my Mom-Gene’s niece, he was a quiet and soft spoken person. You may know he was an accountant and worked for an oil company in Tulsa. His father, also Charles Purdy, had been the town banker in Billings, Missouri and he was a traveling judge for the Springfield area. (Another coincidence with your family) He died before his son Eugene committed the crime. Gene came from a good and happy family. So the whole situation was a big shock. My grandmother told me that she had to testify at the trial- she was 20 years old. It was a ordeal. She also told me that Gene’s employer really helped him and pulled for him in the trail. Apparently this employer was very well to do  and very well connected. We all know that if this happened today Gene would have gone to prison.  I have photos of Gene and one of Helen. I will share them if you like. Again, please know that Eugene Purdy was sorry for what he did. My grandmother was there and she knew him well as her brother. She is the person that told me of his lifetime regret. 


Laura, a relative of Eugene Purdy

Author: Pamela Collett

I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. I have a B.A. from Stanford University and a M.Sc. from Cornell University. I have lived and worked in San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland, California as well as in Washington, DC. Outside the United States, I lived and worked in Venezuela, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Uganda, Somalia and Kenya. I currently live in Canberra, Australia. I edited three books: Bold Plum: with the Guerillas in China's War against Japan by Hsiao Li Lindsay; Peace and Milk: Scenes of Northern Somalia by James Lindsay and Fatima Jibrell; and Solo vale si piensas rápido by Mehedy Lopez, a book of poetry in Spanish. In 2016, I published a book of my poetry and drawings, Silence Spoken. I have taught communication skills, English as a second language, and English for journalists (in Beijing, China) at university and secondary school levels. I was a features writer for the Daily Journal, (Caracas, Venezuela), and The Chronicle of Higher Education. I am a member of the ACT (Australian Capital Territory) Writers Centre, active in a writers’ group and a contributor to poetry readings, That Poetry Thing, in Canberra, Australia.

One thought on “Update on Eugene Purdy”

  1. Wow, sounds straight out of a movie and yet so real. Very grateful for Laura tracking down this info and sharing it. I feel for everyone involved, especially Gene. I’d love to see the pictures of Gene and Helen to put faces to the names in this drama.


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