Dr. Pursley was a graduate of the University of Georgia (1944) and the Medical College of Georgia (1948). He began his medical career in general practice in Hiawassee, Georgia (1948) and from there he began his 35-year career in institutional medicine with the State of Georgia. He first accepted a position at Central State Hospital as Senior Physician in Psychiatry (1949-1951) and then Superintendent of Gracewood and later Gracewood State School and Hospital (GSSH) (1951-1985). Upon his arrival, Gracewood only provided minimal custodial care. By the mid-1960s, Gracewood’s name had been changed to Gracewood State School and Hospital. There were approximately 1900 residents with about 1200 employees that required an increase in the annual budget from 7 million to 10 million dollars. By the 1970s, there were still about 1900 residents and the number of employees had grown to approximately 5000. A full range of programs were offered in support of not only the care, but the training of the residents making GSSH the fifth largest employer in the CSRA under the direction of Dr. Pursley.
Read Dr. Pursley’s obituary.