Alvin J. Purvis, 92, died Sept. 2 in Sarasota, Fla. He met his wife of 50 years, the former Lurline Harper, in Oak Bluffs in the summer of 1947. They were married in 1949 and spent many summers on the Vineyard until May 2000 when she died. Both were distinguished educators in the New York city school system.

Alvin Jervy Purvis was born May 14, 1913, in New York city. He was the fourth son of five born to Charles W. Purvis and Carmencita Ryan. His father was a chef on the Pennsylvania Railroad and his mother was a dressmaker and member of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. He was a descendent of the abolitionist, Robert Purvis.

While Alvin's ambition had been to become a physician, his father died and the Depression intervened. So he decided to pursue a more cost-effective and practical career direction. He was graduated from the School of Education at New York University in 1943 and later received a master's degree from the City College of New York. He taught industrial arts and pre-engineering at Wingate High School in Brooklyn before being appointed acting director of zoning for the New York city board of education until his retirement in 1978.

Many will remember him as a master carpenter who built furniture, cabinets, a Victorian dollhouse and two rowboats. He was always building or repairing something. Alvin was a teenager when his father died. By that time he had already accumulated a wealth of knowledge about woodworking, electrical wiring, plumbing and cooking from his very capable dad. He also learned the social graces of his era. Long after old age had stolen the memories connected with his elegance and good manners, he dressed meticulously and was the only gentleman who always wore a suit, tie and wing-tipped shoes in the Alzheimers' home where he ended his days.

Together with his wife, he entertained many at parties at their Oak Bluffs home. They also hosted an annual fete with live jazz in St. Petersburg, Fla., where they wintered for 21 years. Alvin was a devoted member of the Comus Club and the Hermits. Known for his willingness to serve, his reliability, and his attention to detail, he was frequently elected to the office of treasurer.

He is survived by his daughter, Lurline Aslanian, a psychotherapist in Sarasota, Fla., and grandchildren, Molly, a teacher in Sarasota, and Len Aslanian, an aspiring filmmaker in California. He is also survived by a brother, Clarence, in upstate New York, sister in law Norma (Peggy) Johnston of Sarasota, nephews Bradley Purvis of White Plains, N.Y., and Vineyard Haven, Archibald Purvis of California, Edward Gilliard of Oakland, Calif., Christopher Johnston of Kirkland, Wash., and niece Judith Gilliard Pliner of New York city.

A celebration of life will be held Saturday, Sept. 17, at 1 p.m. at the Oak Grove Cemetary in Oak Bluffs. Memorial donations may be made to Planned Parenthood's Source Teen Theatre, 2055 Wood Street, Sarasota, FL 34237 or to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104.