SARA ERNRSTINE "ERNIE" PURKEY - of Knoxville, TN, the long time owner of the Corner Lounge in Knoxville, passed away November 27, 2016. Ernie was preceded in death by her parents, Ernest E. and Christine Bales.
For many years, The Corner Lounge was the "Go To" place on Thursday nights for Knoxvillians from all walks of life, to gather around the piano bar to enjoy music and fellowship with old friends and to make new ones. You could travel around the U.S. during this time, and if you mentioned you were from Knoxville, many times you would be asked, "Have you ever been to The Corner?"
Born in Knoxville August 16, 1928, Ernie graduated from Park Jr. High. Married at 14, a mother at 16, divorced at 24, Ernie worked hard as a single mother all of her life to provide for her two sons until they were grown. Ernie lived and worked her entire life in Knoxville. At the time of her death, Ernie was a resident of the Baptist Health Care Campus in Lenoir City, TN.
Ernie was a longtime fan of her beloved Tennessee Volunteers. When her physical condition deteriorated and prevented her from attending the games at Neyland Stadium, Ernie faithfully watched them on TV whenever they were shown. To disturb Ernie during a VOLS broadcast was to encounter her wrath as this was a sacred time for Ernie. Equally important to Ernie was any team for which Payton Manning played. Game time for Payton was also a sacred time for Ernie, and the "Do Not Disturb" sign was always out on game day.
Ernie is survived by her sons, Robert "Bobby" J. Purkey, Jr. and his wife Diane of Maine, and Charles Roger Purkey and his wife Debbie of Knoxville. Ernie is also survived by her brother, Charles Bales and his wife Beverly, and her sister, Betty Brown all of Knoxville. Many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews also survive. Wanda Brown, a niece who was like a daughter to Ernie, also survives. Ernie would also like to mention her longtime friend, Con Hunley.
The family will receive friends at Stevens Mortuary, 1304 Oglewood Avenue, in Knoxville (865-524-0331) on Thursday, December 1, 2016 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
A brief funeral service to celebrate her life will follow at 8:00 p.m. with Ronnie Scaribro officiating.
The family and friends will meet 10:45 a.m. Friday, December 2, 2016 at Lynnhurst Cemetery for a graveside service and interment at 11:00 a.m. Pallbearers will be her sons, Bobby and Roger Purkey, Con Hunley, Kenny Hunley, Steve Hunley, and David Rubble.
Honorary pallbearers will be Jake and Jerimiah Purkey.
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