October 09, 2016
- 7:00 PM
October 09, 2016
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
October 10, 2016
- 11:00 AM
Paul Pratt, 85, passed away on September 28, 2016 at Sanford Palliative Care, Fargo. Paul was born August 29, 1931 in Fargo, ND, son of Pauline Fjelde and Parke Campbell Pratt. He lived on the family farm near Gardner, ND, homesteaded by his great-grandfather George Pratt in the 1880s. A lifelong farmer, Paul actively farmed to the age of 80, and continued to do so in his dreams during retirement. He attended grade school in Gardner, high school in Grandin, and graduated from Fargo Central High School in 1950. Paul earned a degree in Mechanized Agriculture from NDSU in 1956, where he was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega (ATΩ) national fraternity. During the Korean War he was an Air Force P-51 Mustang mechanic on the flight line in Valdosta, GA and Victorville, CA.
Paul married Marguerite Olson on December 26, 1960 at Elim Lutheran Church in Fargo and they had three daughters, Claudia, Charlotte and Karla. Together, Paul and Marguerite operated the farm, growing wheat, barley, soybeans, sunflowers and sugar beets. Paul’s love for the land showed through in his soil conservation work, and he also served on the Cass County Water Board when rural water service was introduced.
He was an active member and volunteer in several cultural organizations including Sons of Norway, St. Andrew’s Scottish Society, the Swedish Cultural Heritage Society of the Red River Valley, the Hjemkomst Center, the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County, and the Scandinavian Hjemkomst Festival. Paul could create or fix virtually anything using his woodworking, welding, handyman, design and mechanical skills. A lover of music and dancing, he folk danced with the NorSweDane Dancers and enjoyed singing in the choir at Pontoppidan Lutheran Church. He taught his little girls to dance as they stood on his feet. We will miss his sweet smile, waltzes, and jitterbugs.
Paul enjoyed learning about history and traveling throughout the US and Scandinavia – especially the beautiful fjords of Norway where he loved visiting his relatives. He also cherished watching his daughters and grandchildren in their various artistic and musical activities. One of the saddest times of his life was losing his creative daughter Claudia to cancer in 2014. To his grandchildren he was known as “Morfar,” and they delighted in his playful nature, hearing stories about the “old days,” and going on tractor rides with him.
He loved to make family memories, treating his children and grandchildren to many trips and the annual New Year’s gathering at Maplelag Resort. It was there that he became our “Miracle in the Snow,” surviving a heart attack on the ski trail. He was blessed with seven extra years of life that he gratefully shared with his beloved companion, Anna Marie Johnson, dancing, traveling, playing Farkle and cheering on the Bison football team. Paul was a patient, kind, thoughtful, gentle, generous, wise, and humble man. He loved antiques, stained glass windows and his “hedgehog mission” – giving stuffed hedgehogs to those who needed a little good luck. Reflecting on life at the end he advised “Cherish it all” – a motto he certainly lived by.
Paul is preceded in death by wife Marguerite; daughter Claudia; sister Sharon; and survived by daughters Charlotte (Henrik) Nordstrom, Karla Pratt; grandchildren Philip, Jensine, Nils and Ebba; niece Terra Goodwin; and Anna Marie Johnson, William Beyer and Richard Corcoran.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Pontoppidan Lutheran Church or the Claudia Pratt Art Heals Fund (FM Foundation). Other ways to honor Paul’s life: share your stories, help someone in need, make something with your hands or plant a seed.
The visitation will be held on Sunday, October 9, 2016 from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm with a prayer service and time of sharing memories at 7:00 pm at the Boulger Funeral Home & Celebration of Life center, Fargo. “Fika” – Coffee and cookies will be served following the service.
A Celebration of Paul’s Life will be held Monday, October 10, 2016 at 11:00 am at Pontoppidan Lutheran Church, Fargo, with a farm lunch served following the service.