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Charles F. Pratt, former COB of Studebaker-Worthington---Ex. V.P. during phase-out of Studebaker

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  • Charles F. Pratt, former COB of Studebaker-Worthington---Ex. V.P. during phase-out of Studebaker

    Charles F. Pratt | Visit Guest Book

    June 28, 1917 - Feb. 12, 2012
    SOUTH BEND - Charles F. Pratt of Rio Verde, Arizona left this earth for a better place on February 12, 2012. A self-made man, he was very proud of his business career, the many acquisitions he made for Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana and the lifetime achievement award he received from his alma mater, University of Southern Illinois. He was featured in April 1968 Look Magazine for his role in leading the phase-out of the automaker. A family man, he will be greatly missed as he showed great love and kindness to his family throughout his 94 years. Known for his sense of humor and lightheartedness, he never let life get him down. His hobbies were golf, fishing, working outdoors, and road trips to see his grandchildren. Charles F. Pratt, who liked to be known as C. F. Pratt, was born June 28, 1917 in Rock Rapids, Iowa to Margaret Halloran Pratt and Charles Pratt. His father worked the 160 acre farm with the family-which included siblings Warren, Don, John, George, Charlie, Bob, and Mary. They later moved to Hoopeston, Illinois, which was near the home of Charlie's paternal grandfather, Gus Pratt, of Fowler. Despite the fact that Charlie had only one eye and therefore lacked depth perception, he was captain of the basketball team at Hoopeston High School, where he played football, tennis and track. He graduated in 1936 as class valedictorian. Charlie attended the University of Southern Illinois where he worked his way through school as a janitor and played sports. He graduated 2nd in a class of 255, majoring in Geography and Geology. In 1967 he was honored to receive the Outstanding Professional Achievement Award from the University of Southern Illinois, presented to him at the graduation ceremony. Turned down for service in World War II because of his physical limitations, Charlie then began a career as an auditor for the government auditing their wartime contracts. About 1952, after completing the LaSalle Extension course in accounting in 3 years, he completed the CPA exam in Indianapolis where he passed all sections, receiving the 4th highest score in the state. Charlie had a successful career with the automobile manufacturer Studebaker- headquartered in South Bend, IN, culminating with his being named Chairman of the Board of Studebaker after it became Studebaker-Worthington in 1967. Highpoint as Vice President of Acquisitions included the purchase of STP in 1961. As Executive Vice President, he led the phase-out of Studebaker's automobile industry and handled the sale of 18 separate companies and the termination of 21,000 employees. He was featured in Look Magazine, April 1968. He testified before Congress regarding the pension obligations of the company, which led to the pension reform act known as ERISA. Subsequently he was Vice President of American Export Industries, and President of Shepherd Products. He is survived by his wife of many years, Wilma Pratt of Rio Verde, AZ. He was loved by stepchildren Lisa and Anthony Piazza and family, Karen and P.J. Staun and family, and Gene Bolton and daughter of Scottsdale AZ. He was predeceased by his wife of 35 years, Barbara Todd Pratt of West Frankfort, Illinois, whom he married in 1942. He will be sorely missed by his daughter, Suzanne Pratt Harding & Ken & granddaughter Cynthia Harding of Cave Creek, AZ; daughter, Beth Pratt and grandchildren Sarah Reynolds Nassau of Charlottesville, Rachael Reynolds Clark of Scottsville, and Erica Reynolds Heitz of Roanoke, VA; and great grandkids, Ruth & Elsie Nassau, and Natalie Heitz.
    Published in South Bend Tribune on February 29, 2012
    "Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional." author unknown