School 09
Official Obituary of

William Crouch Pratt, Jr.

October 5, 1927 ~ February 13, 2024 (age 96) 96 Years Old

William Pratt, Jr. Obituary

William Crouch Pratt, Jr. passed away on February 13, 2024 at the Knolls of Oxford. He was 96 years old.

William Crouch Pratt, Jr. was born on Oct. 5 1927, in Shawnee, Oklahoma, the son of William Crouch Pratt, co-owner of Pratt Shoe Company on Main Street and his wife Irene Johnston Pratt. He attended public grade schools and graduated from Shawnee High School in 1945 as Salutatorian of his class, playing on the football, basketball, and tennis teams, and being named All-Conference fullback in football in his senior year. Graduating while the country was engaged in the Second World War, he enlisted in the Navy V-5 program to train naval aviators and was sent first by the Navy to North Texas Agricultural College in Arlington, Texas, then to Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and briefly to Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee. He soloed in Texas and was sent to Pre-Flight School in Nebraska, but chose to retire from the Navy in 1947, when the war was over. He enrolled at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, graduating with a Phi Beta Kappa in English in 1949. He then entered graduate school at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, earning an MA in English in 1951 and a Ph.D in 1957.

It was at Vanderbilt in 1951 that he met his beloved wife of nearly 70 years, Anne Rich, who was his greatest supporter, reader, collaborator in French translations, travel companion and helpmate. They were married in 1954 and together raised three children.

In 1953, called back during the Korean War, he was stationed in Washington as Assistant Congressional Liaison Officer, reporting to the Navy on the explosive McCarthy Committee hearings. He returned to Vanderbilt in 1955 as a Teaching Fellow to finish his doctorate.

He was then hired by Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, as Instructor of English, and he became successively Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Director of Freshman English, and Professor of English in 1968. He taught for a total of more than forty years until his retirement in 1998. In 1951-52, still a graduate student, he went as a Rotary Foundation Fellow to the University of Glasgow in Scotland, and in 1975-76 he became Fullbright Professor of Modern Literature at University College in Dublin, Ireland, moving on, in the fall of 1976, to the Miami campus in Luxembourg as Research Professor.

Professor Pratt’s publishing career in Modern Literature was extensive and recognized internationally.  It began in 1963 with a Dutton Classic Paperback The Imagist Poem:  Modern Poetry in Miniature.  It ended with his 21 st  book, published in 2020, A Faulkner Profile: The Man and the Writer.  During a highly active career in which he pursued modern literature as teacher and scholar, he met two of the principal twentieth century authors in person:  Ezra Pound and William Faulkner. Pound and Faulkner were the subjects of many of William Pratt’s publications, some of them done while he was serving as secretary of the Ezra Pound International Conferences that met internationally in Italy, France, England, and China.

William's boundless energy and enthusiasm extended well beyond his professional interests to his deep devotion to his family, his Christian faith, his countless friends and his eagerness to embrace life to its fullest extent. His contagious zest for life touched and inspired all who knew him.

He was a member of the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly in TN where he delighted in hosting family and friends and pursuing his love of birdwatching. He was inspired by the history and peacefulness of this place to do many of his writing projects. He was also an active participant in the Cincinnati Literary Club where he served as President and found great joy in relationships with like-minded friends. In later years he was active in the Rotary Club of Oxford making new friends and learning about the community he called home for almost 70 years.

William is survived by his wife, Anne Cullen Rich Pratt, his sister, Marjorie Pratt Monnet, three children, Catherine Cullen Pratt Hornaday (Charles), William Stuart Pratt (Kimberly), and Randall Johnston Pratt (Jane), seven grandchildren, Marjorie Hornaday (Mouzakitis), William Dickson Hornaday, Jordan Elizabeth Pratt Mayer, William Samuel Pratt, Catherine Grace Pratt, Connor MacNeil Pratt, Charlotte Pratt Benway. and four great- grandchildren, Finley Mayer, Adeline Mayer, Charles Mouzakitis and Eleni Mouzakitis. He is predeceased by his parents and a grandchild, Caroline Jane Pratt.

The family is grateful for the caring attention over the past year of the staff at the Knolls of Oxford. In his last days, the staff of McCullough-Hyde Hospital, especially Dr Park and Nurse Luke were tremendously kind and caring. Finally, the family wishes to thank Hospice of Cincinnati for the comfort they provided at the end.

As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be made to either the Pratt 20th Century Literature Reading Room Fund or to the Walter Havighurst Special Collections and Archives at Miami University at or the charity of your choice.

Please join us for a Celebration of Life honoring William C. Pratt, Jr. on Saturday, March 23, 2024 from 2 pm until 4 pm at The Auditorium at The Knolls of Oxford (6727 Contreras Rd.). 

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Celebration of Life
March 23, 2024

2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Knolls of Oxford - Commons Auditorium
6727 Contreras Rd.
Oxford, OH 45056


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