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James Pratt

November 23rd, 1936 - September 12th, 2023
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Jim (“Skip”) Pratt was born in Lacombe, Alberta on November 23, 1936, and raised in Surrey, BC.  The youngest of six, dad spent his childhood and youth helping his mom with their chickens, playing with his pals and occasionally getting caught smoking homemade cigarettes behind the barn. 

Dad’s work ethic was second to none.  He started young with a paper route but soon expanded his business endeavours to working on a mushroom farm and becoming a pinsetter at Whalley Lanes.  Eventually he found his way to Dominion Bridge Company where he worked for the better part of 25 years.    

On a weekend in 1960, 19-year-old Lonna Croswell and her girlfriend went to a dance at the Hollywood Bowl in New Westminster.  As they arrived, Lonna spotted a black 1958 Chevy Impala in the parking lot, and she joked to her girlfriend that she’d be going home in that car.  Lonna met dad at the dance that night, and at the end of the evening he asked if he could drive her home.  Mom agreed, and dad drove her home … in his ‘58 Impala.  It was the beginning of a love story that spanned 64 years. 

Mom and dad married in January 1962, and they raised their three kids in North Delta.  Dad was president of the South Fraser Track Club for many years back in the 70s, and the kids in that club became extended family.  In 1981 mom and dad bought their first of three Pantry Restaurants (Port Coquitlam, Tsawwassen, Newton), and they worked side by side for 20 years before building their log home and retiring to Mission, BC, where they gardened together, laughed together and chased bears and squirrels and deer out of their birdfeeders together. 

Dad was one of those guys who seemed to know everyone.  He couldn’t go anywhere without running into someone he knew from one of the chapters of his incredibly full life.  His Surrey roots run deep and wide, as did the friendships he made throughout his lifetime.  A proud member of the Queen Elizabeth High School graduating class of 1955 (and ’56 and ’57 because, as he would say, “Shakespeare and I didn’t really get along), dad thought it would be fun to organize a “mid 50s” class reunion that brought about 80 high school kids together back in about 2010.  Everyone had such a great time they decided to make it an annual event, and it continues to this day.  It was one of the highlights of the year for dad.

After a whirlwind spring and a summer filled with love and laughter and memories and hugs, dad turned the final pages of his life story at Crossroads Hospice in Port Moody, where he was cared for by truly compassionate nurses, doctors and volunteers.  His sense of humour was intact to the end, and his love for his family carried him through his final days. 

Dad is survived by his loving wife Lonna, his son Todd (Shari), his favourite daughter Teresa (Shawn) and his other favourite daughter Christy (David).  Todd and Teresa gave mom and dad five fantastic grandkids – Brandan (Karen), Bailey (Adam), Jaylene, Brogan (Haley) and Nicole (Derrick) – who in turn gave them five delightful great-grandkids (Wyatt, Whitney, Axl, Lincoln and Kenna).

At dad’s request there will be a service – or as we prefer to think of it, a celebration of his phenomenal life – sometime next spring. 

“You're the story of my life, and every word is true.  Each chapter sings your name, each page begins with you.”   Neil Diamond


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