Obituary: Pratt, Richard Eugene “Dick”
May 18, 1950 -
May 18, 2012
Passed away at 12:35 pm on Friday, May 18th after a courageous four month battle with complications from pneumonia. We lost our beloved son, brother and friend on his 62nd birthday.
Dick was the second of five children born in Spokane to Frances Ann and the late Richard C. Pratt. A former altar boy, Dick attended Sacred Heart grade school and graduated from Gonzaga Prep in 1968. He traveled extensively through Europe and then went on to study music at Eastern Washington University.
Blessed with incredible gifts, Dick displayed an early talent for sketching, writing science fiction stories, creating cartoon strips and animating movies well beyond his years. But it was his love of music, always the music, that proved to be his life’s passion. A self-taught musician, Dick formed his first band in high school, The Panic, along with Bill Superak, Dave Johnstone and the late Joe Shikany. Within the emerging area music scene, he quickly became known for his rich, soulful voice and smooth touch on the piano and Hammond organ (Big Bertha). His many other bands included Wilson McKinley and Season Street.
Dick later moved to California where he worked for MGM records. He then migrated to Las Vegas where he played piano for the late Johnny Harra- the king of Elvis impersonators. He appeared nightly to sold out audiences at the Silver Bird Hotel & Casino and was seen nationally on The Merv Griffin Show. He was also a back-up musician for Burt Bacharach.
In the early 80’s, Dick moved back to Spokane where he charted music for the Spokane Jazz Society. He formed the Dick Pratt Trio and played with additional bands including the Fabroncos and Border Run Blues Band. Dick also was a featured piano player at Patsy Clarks Restaurant. In 2008, Dick was sought out to appear in the locally filmed movie Lies and Illusions with Christian Slater and Cuba Gooding, Jr.
In his later years, Dick volunteered his time to play the piano at various nursing homes and Mid-City Concerns. A prolific song-writer, Dick wrote over one hundred songs - some of which are still being played today as far away as Australia, England and Sweden.
Dick taught his sisters everything they needed to know about music, dance moves, movies (particularly monster movies), science fiction and ALL things comedy. He influenced and enriched our lives more than words can express and we will miss him more than our hearts can bear.
Dick is preceded in death by his father, Richard C. Pratt and his grandmother, Marie DeSmeth DeLaney. In addition to his loving mother Frances, Dick is survived by sisters Susan Mechals (Greg) of Spokane, Kathy Dillon (Phil) of Vancouver, WA, Condie Pratt of Spokane and Carolyn Urie (Jeff) of Spokane. He is also survived by his niece Meghan and nephew Joe, both of Vancouver.
Dick’s family would like to extend their deep appreciation to the doctors, nurses and staff at Sacred Heart ICU - 2 South. And a most special thanks to Fr. Vic Blazovich whose spiritual guidance and tireless support along this difficult journey will never be forgotten.
Heaven has tapped one helluva musician and all around great and really funny guy. There will be standing room only at the piano bar tonight ‘cause “The Doctor”…is in…the house. Cheers!
A private family Mass was held last week, and a celebration of Dick’s life and music is being planned for a later date this summer. Memorial contributions can be made to Mid-City Concerns/Meals on Wheels, Spokane.