Obituary: Karson Pratt

Mon, 08/20/2012 - 4:28pm

Karson Eugene Pratt, 69, longtime resident of Foster, R.I., died on August 10 of heart failure. He was born January 17, 1943, in Portland, Maine, the third child of the late Rev. W. Stanley Pratt and the late Winifred E. Pratt.

He is survived by two sisters, Janet Brown of Ithaca, N.Y. and Kathleen Jamison of Los Gatos, Cali.; a brother, Ronald Pratt of Napier, New Zealand; a step daughter, Linda Glynn of Foster; two step granddaughters, Carrie Ann and Jodi; and many step great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Caroline Miller Pratt.

After graduating from Bangor High School in Bangor, Maine, he attended and graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 1967 with an English major and a mathematics minor. He earned a masters degree in library science from the University of Denver in 1981.

Although Karson obtained his library science degree in later years, he began his interest in the field at Bechtel Engineering Corporation, San Francisco, and in time became an assistant engineer and technical writer, maintaining documents for the transportation library in connection with the civil, electrical and mechanical engineering design for the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit System (now known as BART) and other transit systems. After enlisting in the army, he was stationed at the White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico, where he worked as a technical librarian. He received an honorable discharge from the army in 1980.

He is best remembered for his writings, in a plethora of booklets, many of which documented the life of the Pratt family at their summer home, the Red Shutters, on Block Island. He also wrote about his personal struggle to cope with his illness. He was aided in this by the medical staff of the VA Hospital in Providence.

Karson volunteered for many organizations, including the Veterans Administration, NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) of R.I. and most recently, the Home and Hospice Care of R.I. He received two presidential awards for his extensive hours working with hospice. Karson’s most recent challenge came in the form of regular scrabble games with a 95-year-old woman in hospice. He was consistent in losing.

Known as “Kit” by his many Block Island friends, he was a familiar face on the island in the late fifties and early sixties. He spent many happy summers working for the Narragansett Inn. One of those who knew him then, Howie Glen, said that “His island friends will miss him greatly.”

Karson was devoted to his immediate and extended families. He was diligent in keeping contact with all members as well as countless friends. He will be missed by all.

A memorial service will be held at Winfield Funeral Home, 2 Church Street, Greenville, R.I., on Saturday, August 18.

Donations in memory of Karson can be made to the Home and Hospice Center of R.I., 1085 North Main Street, Providence, RI 02904.