On January 3, 2023, James (Jim) Leroy Pratt went home to be with Our Lord, our parents, little sister and all our family and friends who’ve died in Christ before. He was born January 19, 1954 in Amarillo, Texas, to Sammy Lee Pratt, Sr. and Pauline Aishman Pratt. He grew up in Panhandle, Texas, until the family moved to Amarillo where he graduated from Amarillo High School in 1972.
A graveside service will be held on Saturday, January 14, 2023 at 2:00 PM in the Panhandle Cemetery, Panhandle, Texas. Military Honors are by Volleys for Veterans. Arrangements are by Schooler Funeral Home, 4100 South Georgia.
After graduating Jim enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served approximately 7 1/2 years. He was honorably discharged at the rank of Staff Sergeant in early 1980. During Jim’s service he served tours on the USS Enterprise’s Marine complement, as an infantryman at Camp Pendleton, as a Drill Instructor at MCRD-San Diego and as an Infantry Training Instructor for recruits at Camp Pendleton.
Honorably discharged from the Marines, he returned home to Amarillo, worked at the Bell Helicopter facility and served a year in the Army National Guard as a Staff Sergeant.
After that year of service, he sought Honorable Discharge from the National Guard to enlist in the Regular Army, taking a cut in rank to Sergeant. He was first assigned as an Infantry Training Instructor for the recruits at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas.
Leaving Fort Bliss with the rank of Staff Sergeant, he was assigned to the Berlin Brigade in West Berlin. Jim served three years overlooking the Berlin Wall alongside British and French troops, facing the Soviet and East German troops in East Berlin. During those three years Jim was an acting infantry platoon sergeant as part of the "trip wire" should the Soviets have sought to start World War III in Europe.
After Berlin, Jim received orders to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell near Clarksville, TN. During that assignment he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant First Class. While assigned to the 101st he qualified for his Air Assault wings while in his thirties (at least 10 years older than most of the air assault trainees). He also received survival training in Panama.
Jim was then assigned to South Korea for 3 years facing the North Koreans across the DMZ, and served in South Korea throughout Desert Storm; a stop-loss prevented movement of troops out of South Korea just in case the North Koreans decided to take advantage of the Army's concentrated efforts in Iraq.
On completion of his assignment in Korea, Jim returned to the 101st Airborne Division in Clarksville, for the remainder of his Army career as Sergeant First Class, serving for a time as an Acting First Sergeant for his company. He retired from the U. S. Army at the rank of Sergeant First Class (SFC) after more than 20 years total service.
Jim received numerous awards (multiple oak leaf clusters) of Good Conduct Medals, Army Achievement Medals, Army Commendation Medals and other awards during his military service. Throughout it all he was infantry, a "grunt", dedicated to his job and mission.
After retirement, and until age 62, he worked for Kennedy Septic Tank Services in Woodlawn, TN, just outside the gates of Fort Campbell.
Jim is survived by an older brother, Sammy L. Pratt, Jr. and his sister-in-law, Priscilla Pratt. He is also survived by a niece, Cynthia Brundage, as well as a great-nephew and a great-niece, Jordan Hunley and Angela Hunley, and great-great-nephew, Liam Josiah Hunley. Jim never married, and was preceded in death by his parents, Sammy L. Pratt, Sr. and Pauline Aishman Pratt and little sister Angela Pauline Pratt. He of course leaves behind many cousins and friends and other family in Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Kansas.
My little brother Jim was my constant playmate and companion in our pre-teen years. And though time, separation and service kept us apart much of our lives, we kept in touch throughout. After our mother passed on, he normally called me once or twice a day (sometimes for hours) from Woodlawn/Clarksville, TN. He had remained there after his retirement and until his death on January 3, 2023. When my home phone line rings in the afternoon or late evening, I keep expecting the caller ID to announce "Jim Pratt". I now miss those long calls. Goodbye, Jim, my brother and friend, until we meet again in Christ!
James Leroy Pratt was a son, a brother, a friend, a Marine, a Soldier and a Christian.