Joseph C. Prater, 81, passed away Aug. 1, 2004. Survived by his wife, Edith; four children, Beverly (Scott) Williamson, Wichita Falls, TX, Sharon Prater, Toronto, Canada, Pamela (Jay) Prater Surdell, Pueblo West, and James Prater, Fort Collins; two grandchildren, Adam and Abby Williamson. Preceded in death by his parents, Joseph Claude Prater and Florence Southerland Prater; two sisters, Vera Clyde Prater and Juanita Prater. Joe was born November 19, 1922, in St. Paul, Arkansas, and grew up in Brentwood, Arkansas. He served three years in the U.S. Army during World War II, and played professional baseball in the minor leagues before and after the war. Joe graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1948. He married Edith Holley in 1947, having met at the University. Joe and Edith came to Colorado in 1948 where they taught at Lamar High School. Joe taught mathematics and coached football and basketball, including two state championship football teams. He completed his master's degree in 1950 at the University of Arkansas, and attended Oregon State University under a National Science Grant in 1960. In 1956, Joe was named head football coach and mathematics instructor at Pueblo Junior College. He was NAIA District Football Coach of the Year in 1965. He continued coaching until 1973, and taught mathematics until 1988, retiring as professor emeritus from USC. Joe was a member of First Baptist Church, and a former member of Calvary Baptist Church, where he also coached the boys basketball teams. Joe was a member of the Pueblo County 4-H Foundation, he and Edith were named to the Pueblo County 4-H Leaders Hall of Fame in 1997. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2004, at First Baptist Church, 405 W. 9th, with Pastor Wayne Dvirnak officiating. Interment will follow at Imperial Memorial Gardens. In lieu of food or flowers, those who wish may make memorial donations to the Pueblo County 4-H Foundation through Montgomery & Steward Funeral Home. Online condolences, www.montgomerysteward.com

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  1. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you as go thourgh this time and wait for the day you join him again.
    I always remember how kind Mr. Prater was to everyone when I was growing up with Jim and how cool it was when we got to stand on the sidelines at football games with all the BIG players. I think that is the only time I saw Mr. Prater truely intence.
    I think Philippians 2:3-4 truly describes him.
    Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conciet, but in humility consider others better than yourself. Each of you should look not only to your own intrests, but to the interests of others.

    Heaven is now a better place.

  2. In his coaching and teaching, Joe Prater did his best to give all of his students the opportunity to achieve their capabilities, always taking the time to encourage and assist them. His refined and gentle manner helped many to overcome their antipathy towards mathematics.

    It was my privilege to know Joe as a fellow member of the Mathematics Department at the University. That smile and calm demeanor was still there when I visited him in July. Joe may not have known that I was there, but there was no mistaking that it was my friend Joe Prater.

    To Edith and the Prater family, we extend our heart-felt sympathy for your loss. We shall keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

  3. Edith and Family:
    I knew Joe through the University, as the Personnel Director. Joe was always so perfectly pleasant to be around. I know, from experience, that words won’t ease the pain of your loss; but know that Joe was loved by a lot of people and we are all praying for him and all of you.
    God Bless
    Skip

  4. Edith and Family:
    I knew Joe through the University, as the Personnel Director. Joe was always so perfectly pleasant to be around. I know, from experience, that words won’t ease the pain of your loss; but know that Joe was loved by a lot of people and we are all praying for him and all of you.
    God Bless
    Skip

  5. Dear Scott and Beverly,

    I want you to know you are in our thoughts. Travel safely, and come home soon.

    Keith, Anne-Marie, Ellen, John, Thomas, and Lee Williamson

  6. I REMEMBER MR. PRATER AS AN ANGLE WHO GOT ME THROUGH NURSING SCHOOL. MY FIRST CLASS AT USC WAS ALGEBRA. I HAD NEVER HAD ANY ALGEBRA IN HIGH SCHOOL, SO I WAS IN TEARS WHEN ALL THE “HIGH SCHOOL REVIEW” CHAPTERS WERE SKIPPED. I WAS READY TO QUIT WHEN MR. PRATER TOLD ME WE WOULD GET THROUGH IT TOGETHER. I PASSED HIS CLASS WITH AN “A”. I’M NOW THE LEAD NURSE FOR SAME DAY SURGERY AND PREADMISSIONS AT PARKVIEW. THANKS, MR. PRATER!

  7. Mr. Prater was my math teacher many years ago at U.S.C. I was studing to be an elementary schoolteacher. Math had never been a class I enjoyed or felt very competent in but in his class I was fine. He was so kind and helpful to me and encouraged me whenever he could. I have always remembered his words to me,”You’ll make a fine teacher.” I did finish my education and did teach school for several years. “Thanks Mr. Prater, you were a fine teacher and a truly nice man.”

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