Al Purmort Sr. had a penchant for a quiet kind of giving during a successful 50-year insurance career.
Sometimes it was a donation to a local civic, arts or education group. Other times it was a somewhat secretive gift to a local business in need of startup capital or some tide-over money. But the gifts, donations and loans, says Purmort's son, Al Purmort Jr., weren't for bragging purposes. The gift, believed the elder Purmort, was in the giving.
“All the corporate donations were anonymous,” says the younger Purmort, “because he felt that marketing it corrupted the donations.”
Purmort Sr., whose given name was Clyde Allen Purmort II, died Aug. 28. He was 81 years old.
Purmort Sr. was a fourth-generation insurance executive. Born in Van Wert, Ohio, he moved to the Sarasota area with his family in 1958. The origins of that move can resonate with any Midwest transplant: Purmort was driving his convertible one winter day in Ohio when the roof of the car caved in — a victim of too much snow.
He founded and co-founded two insurance agencies in Sarasota. One was Purmort & Martin Insurance Agency, and the second, in 1985, was Al Purmort Insurance Inc. His guiding principle in both firms, says Purmort Jr., was “the success of the client will make our success.” That was a strategy Purmort Sr. learned from his grandfather, back in 1946. “His clients weren't just clients,” says Purmort Jr. “He was charged with protecting them.”
Purmort Jr., now president of Al Purmort Insurance, says another important part of his father's success was his relationships with the firm's employees. Like the clients, he was proud of their successes. He was also a father figure to many employees, both in terms of advice and financially, from co-signing a loan to giving to their favorite charity.
Even with the dedication to the business, Purmort Jr. says his father's true passion was with his family, starting with his wife of 45 years, Cerita Ludwick Purmort. The couple met in 1968 at the Beach Club in Siesta Key and was married a few months later. “She was the love of his life,” says Purmort. “They were inseparable.”
Purmort Sr. is survived by his wife, two children and six grandchildren. Memorial donations may be sent to one of three organizations: Historic Spanish Point, P.O. Box 846, Osprey, 34229; SPARCC (Safe Place & Rape Crisis Center), 2138 Main St., Sarasota, 34237; or Girls, Inc. 201 S. Tuttle Ave., Sarasota, 34237.