Although belated, it is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Robert – “Bob” and Karin Pratt – formerly of Aitkin and Waukenabo, MN. The couple passed away in their home city of Las Vegas, NV this past winter. Karin Kay Pratt (formerly Karin Sarff) passed at 81 years old, on 4 November 2018 after a short but failed recovery from an unfortunate but critical fall. Unable to recover from head trauma caused by the fall, she passed away peacefully in her sleep. Robert Neal Pratt “Bob” passed away 16 days later, on 20 November, at age 82 years and after a 15-year struggle with Parkinson’s disease. All that know and were close to him, know that Bob died of a broken heart after the unexpected passing of Karin - the love of his life.
Bob and Karin were married 63 years after having met on a blind, double date in high school. The double date was the only way Karin’s parents Nora and Mac would allow her to date the young Pratt boy. Bob was lucky to have caught Karin’s eye and they quickly fell in love. After two years of dating and after Bob’s first Army assignment, he returned to marry Karin at the Bethel Lutheran Church in Palisades, MN. The couple had three boys: James, Thomas, and Jeffery whom they raised with their love of life and their Minnesota family values. Not without tough times, the two were enviously an example of a couple who was truly in love with each other until their final days. Bob and Karin were preceded in death by their parents Melvin and Mildred Pratt and Mac and Nora Sarff, two of their three sons James (Jim) and Jeffery, along with some brothers and sisters. They are survived by son Thomas (and daughter-in-law Amy) Pratt and 4 grandchildren, Bob’s sister - Eileen Efert (Little Falls, MN), and brother - John Pratt (North Carolina), and Uncle Raymond (Marjorie) Pratt of Aitkin, MN, along with many nieces and nephews.
Bob and Karin’s lives were defined by that of service to their nation, community and to others. Bob served 28 years over two Army assignments in Korea (post war) and two combat tours to Vietnam with Karin by his side and supporting from home. He was Enlisted, then became a Warrant Officer. The two traveled the world before and after adopting Jim and Tom, with multiple overseas assignments to Hawaii, Italy and Greece. Jeffery, their youngest, “surprise” child was born shortly before Army retirement but at a time when the couple began their journey to expand Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) to northern Minnesota. Bob and Karin Pratt’s caring and loving impact on hundreds of high school kids over a 12-year teaching career, cannot be easily explained nor justifiably quantified. Karin spent endless hours teaching Bob’s students how to be good citizens, have good manners and maintain proper and accepted military etiquette. Bob and Karin spent their summers hosting their student family at their home, conducting week-long bicycle, camping, and survival trips to the Northwoods and lakes, and providing purpose and direction to future civil and military leaders. Countless Hibbing/Chisholm/Virginia High School students went on to college, military academies, and better futures because of the efforts of Chief Warrant Officer Four (Ret) Bob and Karin Pratt.
The Pratt couple’s lives will be celebrated as they are laid to rest at the Waukenabo Cemetery on 20 July 2019 at 3:00 PM during a graveside celebration service, where Bob will be provided full military honors, to be conducted by the Palisade VFW and Hill City American Legion. Friends and family are welcome to attend and will gather post-service at the Waukenabo Town Hall for celebratory fellowship.
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