Cal was born in Exeter, California in 1920, and later lived in Lemon Cove and Poplar, California where his father owned a mercantile store. Cal attended grammar schools in that area and also later in Santa Cruz where his family moved in 1935, graduating from high school there. lt was in Santa Cruz that his interest in radio first developed as they had a radio engineering class there--one of the few in the state at the time. He got his first Ham (amateur) radio license before graduation high school. After graduating, he worked for a City Engineer Office Survey crew and helped on the first arial survey of Santa Cruz Country. Cal's interest in aviation was developing then and with three others, built a glider and flew it from the old Capitol Airport, which is no longer there.
Cal put in one year at San Mateo Jr. College in 194O after which he joined the Navy in November of 1941, a month before Pearl Harbor. He spent six years in the Navy, the first four overseas in South and Central America on submarine patrol and was on the Society
(Editor note: This article was published in Country Fever magazine on May 7, 1979 written by Bill Hill. It was found in Cal's office after his death. It contains some information not included in other stories published about Cal. The story has been slightly modified to reflect Cal's passing January 23, 2011.)
lslands, Bora Bora and American Samoa, and spent some time on Easter Island and the Galapagos lslands. From there his ship was assigned to the Aluetian lslands, patrolling between Dutch Harbor, Adak and Attu from which they made strikes against the Japanese held Northern Kurile islands. After the war he was transferred from to the Skaggs Island Naval Receiving Station near Sonoma. Upon discharge from the Navy in 1946, Cal moved to lnglewood, California to attend Doria Balli and Don Martin Radio and Television Arts schools. During this time Cal did free-lance commercial and drama shows in Hollywood.
He moved to Modesto in 1951 taking a job at KTRB as an announcer and engineer and then became Program Director in 1956. When the station was purchased by Pappas Broadcasting Company in 1975 he was promoted to Operations Manager of KTRB and KHOP (KTRB-FM). Cal was on the air doing the news, the Birthday Program and weather reports every morning from 6 to 9:30. The Birthday Program was the longest running sponsored show in the area!
Cal Purviance was very active in Public events in Stanislaus County over the years. He was chairman of the annual Stanislaus Country Fourth of July Celebration from 1956 until 1971 when he stepped down being succeeded by Mr. Al Menshew, of the Modesto Jr. Chamber of Commerce. Cal was responsible for helping set up the Ripon Almond Blossom Parade each year.
Cal was President of the Greater Modesto Kiwanis Club in 1967,and was active on numerous City citizens advisory committees. He was Executive Officer of the Modesto Civil Air patrol Squadron for 15 years, retiring in 1975. He flew many search and rescue missions throughout the state and served as Mission Coordinator on many of those missions. Cal was active in Ham Radio holding Amateur Radio Advanced class license K6BII.
His main hobby was traveling. He has been in every county in California, visited 32 states including Alaska and Hawaii and also Canada and Mexico. Cal had ongoing affair with the Mother Lode area, spending much time in the old gold country with his wife, Betty.
From all this traveling and visiting, Cal developed another interesting hobby - Gourmet eating. Hardly a restaurant in Northern California has not been covered by Cal and Betty. A menu-collecting hobby resulted from their love of travel and restaurants and they boast of over 300 menu's from restaurants they've visited. Some of these menus are most unique and have become valuable collectors items.
Cal liked all kinds of music. For many years he purchased season tickets to the San Francisco Light Opera Company. With his Radio Station duties and traveling he also found time to be a member and Vice Chairman of the Modesto Planning Commission.
Cal was cited in 1955 by the Modesto Chamber of Commerce as "Modesto's Mr. Fourth of July." in 1977 he was voted "Modesto's Man of the Year" by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Also, in 1978 he was voted "Man of the Year" by the American Legion.
Cal is survived by his wife Elizabeth "Betty'' Purviance, children Gregg Purviance, Laurie Henson, Brad Zais, Craig Zais and Vann Nichelini, 8 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. Services were held at Centenary Methodist Church, in Modesto, CA on Thursday January 27, 2011. He was laid to rest at the family plot in Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Colma, CA.
Cal announcing one the many Modesto 4th of July parades.