Robert “Bob” Edgar Pratt , 78, went home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on December 4, 2018. He died suddenly at home after successfully battling prostate cancer for several months. Bob was born in Hamblen County on August 6, 1940. He was saved by the grace of Jesus Christ in his 30s at Riverview Missionary Baptist Church in Grainger County and attended Pleasant View Baptist Church, which sits across the street from his childhood home in Hamblen County. He was a devoted husband and father, and he leaves behind his beloved family, including his wife of 49 years, Ina Ruth “Cookie”; his only child, Robert “Rob” E. Pratt, II; and daughter-in-law, Eustacia L. Pratt, M.D., all of Morristown. He is also survived by his sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Patsy and Ron Byrd, of Bean Station, and nephews, Josh and Jeremy Byrd. He was preceded in death by his sister, Annie Mae; mother and father, Martha Kate and Roscoe Pratt; and brothers Joe and Ralph.
In his earlier years, Bob proudly served his country as a military policeman in the United States Army at Fort Lewis, Washington, from 1964-66. After his honorable discharge from the Army, he met and married his wife, Cookie, and rapidly became one of the area’s most respected baseball umpires and basketball referees, calling countless youth and high school games during the 1960s and 70s. He spent three decades of his life working in parks and recreation. His last and longest post was as manager of Cherokee Park, where he worked for 24 years. He retired in 2000 and became a full-time fan of area sports. He was driven by his passion for the games and his even greater love for the people who spectated, played, coached, and officiated them.
He was Walters State Community College’s biggest fan as well. Bob only missed two home basketball games at the college in the 42 seasons since his best friend and Morristown-High School baseball teammate, Bill Carlyle, began coaching the Senators. You may recall him there as the man in the “lucky” red jacket that he donned for every game. He was also a regular fixture at area Little League Baseball and high school football games where he leaned on the fence and held court with his fellow “railbirds.”
The family wishes to say a special thanks to a pair of physicians who helped him during his toughest health challenges, cardiologist, Dr. Sunil Ramaprasad, and oncologist, Dr. Aaron Flanders, of Thompson Oncology Center in Morristown.
The family will receive friends at Allen Funeral Home in Morristown on Saturday, December 8th beginning at 10 a.m. A celebration of life will follow at noon with the Rev. Larry Parrott officiating. The day will conclude with a military graveside service at approximately 1:30 p.m. at Heath Chapel Cemetery in Bean Station.