Kenneth Wayne Pratt was born June 9, 1924, in Wichita Falls, Texas. He was the third of five children born to Lucian and Mattie Pratt.
It was discovered early-on that Kenneth was a very gifted and talented musician and singer. He sang solos and sang in the church choir at the local Nazarene Church.
When Ken was in high school, his love of music soared to the next level when he discovered the guitar! He was an excellent guitarist and absolutely loved playing. He was hired by a professional band and began performing with them on Saturdays. When his parents found out it was a dance band, they gave him an ultimatum: 'Quit the band or get out of our house!' So Ken made the only decision any self-respecting, music-loving teenager could-He left home! Fortunately, his aunt and uncle welcomed him into their home where he lived during his senior year. In addition to participating in all-things-musical while at school, he ran track and played football.
After graduating from high school, Ken tried to join the Air Force where he passed all tests except the eye exam. He then set his sights on the US Army, which he was inducted into on February 26, 1943, in Abilene, TX.
Ken served as a medic during World War II, always on the front line so that he could serve his comrades. In all, Ken spent fifteen months in France, Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. While in Germany, Ken was shot twice; December 9, 1944, and April 29, 1945. He was awarded two Purple Hearts, the World War II Victory Medal, an American Theater Campaign Medal with four Bronze Stars, and a Good Conduct Medal. He received an Honorable Discharge on December 5, 1945. We honor Ken for his courageous and selfless service to our great country. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank him!
After his military services, Ken returned home to Texas where he began college in Wichita Falls. He learned watchmaking and repair but realized quickly there wasn't much money to be made in repairing watches as all his friends and family expected their watches be repaired for free!
Ken moved to sunny Southern California in the 1950's where he worked in construction until he became, a firefighter with the City of Garden Grove. He remained with the Garden Grove Fire Department for 22 years until retirement; the last 15 of which he was a fire inspector, rising to the rank of Captain.
Ken never lost his passion for music! He continued to play the guitar and sing, many telling him he sang like Perry Como. While Ken was the choir director at Garden Grove Nazarene, he met Dennis Zimmerman and the two assembled a group, calling themselves, 'The Watchmen Quartet'. Ken was the lead singer, and the quartet was very successful for many years, bringing praise and honor to God as they traveled all over the United States, even cutting an album of their most loved gospel songs.
Ken married Patti, the love of his life (and the best pianist EVER!), on August 2, 1974. They shared a love for God and music and together, ministered in music at every Nazarene church they attended (Garden Grove, Oroville and Banning). Ken was Patti's husband, hero, and best friend. His acts of love and thoughtfulness will warm her heart forever. From the small everyday kindnesses to surprising her with a trip to Hawaii for her 50th birthday, Ken will be remembered as the man who made all of Patti's dreams come true.
For the past eight years, Ken suffered from Alzheimer's. As the disease progressed, Patti made the difficult decision to place him in a Memory Care home in Beaumont, where she faithfully visited him. Patti rejoiced during his moments of clarity, and she cried when he had no idea who she was. Many times, she said through tears, 'It never gets easier'. But she always went back. Loving and caring for him until the end. Patti. Loved. Ken.
Ken was preceded in death by his parents, Lucian & Mattie; his four siblings, Melba, Peggy, Dennis, and Billy; his first wife Laveta, their son Kenneth Pratt Jr. to Lou Gehrig's Disease, their daughter Darlene Smith and granddaughter Robin Smith, to cancer.
Kenneth Pratt is survived by his loving wife Patti Pratt; his stepdaughters Sandie Dunn and Linda Dart, and Linda's husband, Andy. Ken's; daughter-in-law, Judy Pratt, three grandchildren and four greatgrandchildren.
Service was held on Wed. Sept. 8, 2021, at Wiefels & Son Memorial Chapel. Private interment will be held at Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, CA.
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