In Memory

Wayne Pratt

Wayne Pratt

Wayne had a son and daughter, three grandchildren, and lived in Arlington, Virginia.

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07/30/15 11:01 AM #1    

Craig Miller

I just found this posting.  I wanted to talk to Wayne at the reunion.  He and I were doubles partners on the tennis team.  I looked up what he wrote in my yearbook,and it said: " Hold your temper on the tennis court from now on.  Maybe we'll do better than 8 and 5."  Wayne  He was truly a great tennis partner and calmly put up with my tennis tantrums. 

08/03/15 03:34 PM #2    

Ed Madden

I met Wayne when I started to hang out with Lou Reeve toward the end of eighth grade and the beginning of high school.  Eventually, we and a few other guys became founding members of a group of second tier cool guys which took on the moniker of The Magnificent Seven after the 1960 western of the same name directed by John Sturges and starring Yul Brynner among others. The principal preoccupation of our little band was to hang out together on Saturday nights. (Friday nights were date nights for those of us who were involved with young ladies.)  At first, we walked everywhere in Haddonfield and parts of Haddon Township.  In the beginning, our base of operations was a little Chinese restaurant on Crystal Lake Avenue which we christened “Won Ton’s”.   We eventually all got our licenses and with gasoline in the low 30’s, we would go cruising.  It was remarkable how far a dollar’s worth of gas could get you.  The one great advantage of cruising over walking was the fact that most cars had AM radios.  Wayne’s father being a very frugal gentleman did not have a radio in his Chevy Bel Air which Wayne drove when the faithful old Mercury was unavailable. Hence, the cry of “We ain’t got no radio” went up when guys in one of the other cars advised us that they were listening to a great song on WIBG or WABC and we sat in silence.

In many ways, Wayne was a constant companion along with rock ‘n roll music as we struggled our way through the ups and downs of adolescence.  Despite an amazing sense of humor, Wayne could come across as very dour.  Wayne was our own version of Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones.  Wayne was apparently a very accomplished tennis player, but it was something he never really talked about.  But Wayne was always there.  He was a vital component, along with a bunch of other guys, in the process of my growing up.

After graduation when the world got bigger, the ties naturally began to fray.  Wayne eventually ended up at the University of Southern Ontario after he fell in love with a beautiful Canadian girl named Susan who he married in 1968 and with whom he had two children, Tracy and Jordan.  For a time in the early seventies, they lived in Reading, PA, and I remember visiting them there on a number of occasions.

In Reading, Wayne’s son, Jordan was enrolled in Montessori school, and his teacher was a young, single woman from Woodbury named Dottie Lentz.  Wayne and Susan ended up playing matchmaker and arranged a date for Dottie with our friend and classmate, Ken Weaber. The rest, of course, is history as Ken and Dottie were married in 1977 and were together until Ken’s untimely death in 2013.  

Hearing of Wayne’s death like hearing of Ken’s, left a void in my heart as another piece of my youth has slipped away.  But the joy that remains is always enough to scare away the dark.

08/04/15 10:08 AM #3    

Randy Hall

Great commentary Ed.  You are truly a fantastic historian of the class of '66!


08/04/15 04:46 PM #4    

Josh Gitomer

Randy, very well said. Ed, this is a beautiful memorial. I hope all our past classmates get at least one – surely they are all deserving in their own way. I love hearing about the meaningful HMHS friendships and how the affections and appreciations have survived the decades. I also have to compliment you on the articulation and precision of your memories. 

"Despite an amazing sense of humor, Wayne could come across as very dour." This is exactly how I remember him. I spent a lot of time with Dick Slacum, one of the funniest people I have ever known, and Wayne was our mutual friend. Slacum brought out the humor in everyone, and Wayne's sullen exterior always melted away when the three of us were together. Dick was a tennis buff and groundskeeper at the Haddon Field Club, the courts at the end of Elm. Wayne and I often helped him, watering and rolling the clay courts and carefully sweeping off the canvas lines that defined them. Then we would fill the baskets on our bikes with Coke, Pepsi, and milk bottles, rode up Graisbury Ave to the A&P on Crystal Lake, and cashed them in. We usually came up with a couple dollars at least, and used it to buy ice ream at Green Valley Farms next door. One very clear memory stands out: There was a thin strip of sunken ground between Green Valley and the supermarket that was hidden from view. For some reason it was beautifully maintained with a long manicured lawn barely ten feet wide and hedged with high flowering shrubs on both sides.  It was our secret hideout (we never saw anyone else there) and the perfect place to savor a chocolate milkshake. 

"But the joy that remains is always enough to scare away the dark."

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