The Sad Fate of Leslie & Faye Purman, November 27, 1966: Luce County, Michigan
It's never a smart idea to try to drive during a blizzard. Some of us think “Oh, I'll get thru, no sweat!” and then get stuck or stranded in a heavy snow somewhere. During the last extremely heavy snow we had in Michigan, that very thing happened to a family member. The snow was now over six inches deep, but he thought, “well, I don't care - I'm going out for a drive anyway!” And with that, he backs the truck down the driveway and gets stuck. The more he tried to get out, the bigger holes he made in the lawn by spinning the wheels.
So what does he do next? He gets into our other truck and tries again. He gets THAT truck stuck, with more gaping holes in the yard. The lesson? Don't let bullheadedness cloud your rational thought.
That was just a little local buildup to what happened on November 27, 1966 in the Upper Peninsula's Luce County. A huge blizzard was taking place just as deer hunting season was coming to a close. The Pike Lake Resort shut down for the winter as the guests were leaving. Faye Leighton had been managing the resort since 1941 and had recently married Leslie Purman in 1964. By the time the guests had packed up and left for the season, the Purmans were on their way to Newberry. They figured on taking a back road instead of a main one, which ended up being their mistake. In this particular case, they were not being bullheaded...they just wanted to get to their destination before the storm got too bad...but it was too late.
The blizzard took its toll, and the Purmans got their vehicle stuck. Stranded, they decided to walk to the closest place they could think of: the saloon at Pine Stump Junction. They made it approximately four miles thru heavy winds, blinding snow, and freezing temperatures before they decided to rest awhile. They never made it any further.
On December 1, three days after the storm, Leslie and Faye were found frozen in a snowdrift under a tree.....they were only a half mile away from Pine Stump Junction.
A similar incident took place in April 2015 when two sisters got stranded for thirteen days. Luckily, they had road food with them: cheese puffs, girl scout cookies, and other snacks. For a couple of nights, they were paid a visit by a local bear, who may have smelled the cookies...but there was no trouble. Lee Wright and Leslie Roy, both in their 50s, were in good shape when a police helicopter found them almost two weeks afterward. The eight boxes of cookies were rationed and they melted snow for drinking water. Fortunately, they dressed warm wearing layers of clothing. Their cell phones were of no use as there was no service in that area.
So remember, as much fun as it is driving thru snow, there are limitations.
There are a few photos below...
The Fate of Leslie & Faye Purman: 11-27-1966