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King David Memorial Chapel & King David Cemetery

2697 E Eldorado Ln, Las Vegas, NV

OBITUARY

William Lloyd Pratt Jr.

August 9, 1941April 20, 2020

My Big Bro

Much of what and who I am came from my big bro, Will.

We wandered the country as children in the back of our family station wagon, turning over rocks and logs and catching whatever lived under them. We surreptitiously removed Mom’s pillowcases from the linen closet to serve as snake bags My parents had the patience of a rock to tolerate the bags and boxes of live critters, fossils, minerals and bits of plants we took back home to Texas. As I write this I have here on my desk a small Coues Deer antler. Inscribed on it in indelible India ink, in my brothers fine and precise hand is the place and date of its collection in the Chisos Basin in the spring of 1954. I was 9, he was 11. He even then was the scientist, and recorded the proper data to place this artifact in time and space. Every time I handle it or even think of it I am transported back to that magic trip we took with the whole family to the nearly new Big Bend National Park.

Will and I roamed as far as allowed, lost in the natural riches of this new wonderland. It was such a huge and magnificent place, and so full of new life forms for us that the trip was magic. The Big Bend became a special place for our family. Will did his master’s thesis there, my fiancé and I canoed many of the canyons of the Rio Grande, and our family even held a reunion there.

We moved briefly to Oklahoma, then on the Pennsylvania, and two years later returned to Texas.

It was a hard thing to do as kids, leaving all that was familiar behind. But our shared love of each other and the natural world eased the sting, gave us lots of new critters to meet and get to know, and drew us even closer together.

And those early days of wandering the country learning what besides humans lived there shaped both his life and mine. We both became biologists. He earned a double doctorate in Botany and Malacology; the study of mollusks. He specialized in desert snails and moved the science forward by describing and naming two new species of Snail; one for his fiancé, then wife, Suzy. His scholarship was careful, thorough and tight. In his capacity as Curator of Natural Science at UNLV he ventured into many fields and did notable work on such diverse things as how ants can be used to discover fossils or archaeological deposits to the territorial movements and needs of the endangered Desert Tortoise.

He was an inveterate birder, and his life list was meticulously tended. He knew the field marks and songs of nearly every bird in North America and many in Mexico and elsewhere. From nearly childhood Will kept field notes on all of his wanderings. As he matured, they became more and more precise; a record of his life as a biologist. That collection of carefully recorded notes will help keep his memory alive.

In my last conversation with him, only a few days ago, he corrected my faulty memory of a very early trip on which I had caught a rare lizard. He was so elated that he ran back to our family camp yelling, “Mom, dad… Ricky…” over and over breathlessly, which served to thoroughly frighten my mother. She thought I had been bitten by a snake or fallen off a mountain.

That became a family story, often told.

For all his precocious performance in science, his social skills were slow to develop. It was not until he and Suzy fell in love that he became a fully fledged person. She nurtured that side of him, and in her company he became an attentive husband, a fine father with the birth of Taylor, and a doting grandfather when Abbey came along. It was a joy to watch that part of his development.

So my big bro is gone, and with him a big part of who and what I am. It is hard to accept that we will never again speak or trade stories. But his memory is strong within me. I loved him, deeply, and will miss him sorely.

A graveside service for William will be held Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 1:00 PM at King David Memorial Cemetery, 2697 E Eldorado Ln, Las Vegas, Nevada 89120. A burial will occur at King David Memorial Chapel & Cemetery, 2697 E Eldorado Ln, Las Vegas, Nevada 89120.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.kingdavidlv.com for the Pratt family.

Services

  • Graveside Service

    Thursday, April 23, 2020

Memories

William Lloyd Pratt Jr.

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Mark and Lois Ports

May 19, 2020

We are so sorry for your loss. Back in the early 1990's Will took us into the Schell Creek Range of Eastern Nevada to hunt for land mollusks. I don't know who frightened who the worse, Will when he started digging through rock slides with a pick or me driving us up a brutal mountain road! Regardless Will encouraged me to continue the study of the land mollusks of Nevada to this day with an equal love for the mountains and deserts of this state. He was a pioneer in that very little is known about the mollusks and other invertebrates of this great state.
Thanks Will,
Mark

Cindy Karahalis Cassella

April 29, 2020

I remember my mom (Ruth Pratt) J.Martin Pratt’s daughter. Speaking of Lloyd! I believe he came by the house when I was young with a skunk?! My how time goes by
God Bless ❤️

Stephen Bridgeman

April 23, 2020

I'm Rick's son. My biggest memory of Uncle Will (I knew him as Uncle Lloyd back then) was learning that he had discovered a brand new species of snail in the Big Bend National Park. I would've been about 8 years old then. It was when he was working on his Master's Thesis. Grandma talked about it at the dinner table one Sunday after church. Naturally, she was very proud. It isn't every day that a scientist discovers a new species. What made it even better was that it was her son, and my Uncle. Later on, he discovered a second new species of snail. This one also in the Big Bend National Park. That one he named after Suzy. He had a passion for his life's work that is rarely seen. I know we will see him again in Heaven. Until that time comes..... RIP.

Gary Osborne

April 23, 2020

Damn Rick, I can't believe we have been friends for over half my life and I never knew Him. He was about 40days older than me, I sure feel I missed knowing a bright light! Your mention of the birds, well when you came to my son Gary's birthday party after I had moved to Pipe Creek, you sure impressed me with your own bird call tallents. All my memories are from you and Cam, me flying back to PR to get back on a boat with $50 of browed money from Cam in my pocket. My condolences, I love you both!

Michael Smith

April 23, 2020

So sorry to hear of his loss. In the early 1960s I spent a great deal of time in the natural science department at the Fort Worth Children’s Museum and worked alongside him and learned from him. We called him Lloyd then, and I remember his ascerbic wit and keen intellect. His dedication to science and to conservation made a lasting impression on me.

Stephanie Denton

April 23, 2020

I have so many memories of Uncle Will. Some that are very clear in my mind. Being at his wedding to Aunt Suzy in Fort Worth when Allison and I were so little. Allison and I going to Six Flags over Texas with Aunt Suzy and Uncle Will, where we split into two groups so that Alison and I could each ride in the front seat of the antique cars. Suzy and Will coming to visit in Cincinnati, driving in the turquoise and white pickup and bringing their pet skunk. The time Mom and Dad and Allison and I drove cross country in the summer, stopping for a visit in Las Vegas. It was such a “dry heat” that the solution from my contact lenses evaporated overnight. Going to Taylor’s wedding in Las Vegas, all of us dressed for the occasion. The multi-feet-wide family history / family tree that he posted on the wall at Mama’s (Freda’s) 90th birthday party in Dallas. Him always sitting with a book. And always, always, Will's long, thought-out explanations. Love you.

Allison Currie

April 23, 2020

Uncle Will was such a kind, intelligent man. He loved his family. He never stopped learning. And, he was the only person I ever knew who had a vacuum for collecting insects!

Darla Rapier

April 23, 2020

We enjoyed meeting you when y'all came to Texas for a Family Reunion 2003. Thank You so much for sharing with all of us Our Family History. Also the 3 of you were the best when we came to Las Vegas. The times we spent together were the best. You have left this side of Heaven way too soon. RIP.
Darla, Jimmy Rapier and Family

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

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