U.S. Air Force Ret. Colonel Thomas “Tom” Michael Pratt, 65, of Durham NC, passed away Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at Hock Family Pavilion Duke Hospice.
Tom was born February 12, 1948, in San Antonio, Texas. He was the son of the late Brigadier General William C. Pratt and Catherine Briggs Pratt. Tom graduated from Georgetown Preparatory School, Garrett Park, Maryland in 1966. He then graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in June 1970 with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering management, and earned a Master’s degree in personnel management from Central Michigan University in 1977. Tom is also a 1989 graduate of the National War College, Fort McNair, Washington, DC.
He attended undergraduate pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, earned his wings in August 1971, and retired from active duty August 31, 1996, after 26 years of service. His duty included flying F-4 fighter aircraft in the Philippines and Germany. He trained new pilots and other flight instructors in Mississippi and Texas where he commanded the 37th Flying Training Squadron. From 1991 to 1993 he was Base Commander of Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, and completed his final military duty in Norfolk, Virginia, where he served as the Inspector General of United States Atlantic Command.
Tom is a command pilot with more than 3000 flying hours. His commendations include the Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with 3 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Training Ribbon, Air Force Overseas Short Tour Ribbon, Air Force Overseas Long Tour Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Longevity Service Award with 6 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with 5 oak leaf clusters, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Defense Superior Service Medal and other commendations.
After his retirement from active duty Tom moved to Palm City, FL where he lived for 9 years. He was a dedicated supporter of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church and served as sacristan, lector, alter server and trainer, wedding and funeral coordinator. Also, as a member of the board of Molly’s House in Stuart, FL he organized the annual Clambake and BBQ fundraiser and participated in many other charitable events. During this time, Tom was especially pleased to learn that by being on the National Bone Marrow Donation List he was able to donate to a young man whose life was extended several years. Prior to moving to Durham in 2007, Tom lived at Lake Gaston, NC where he served in many positions at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church.
Tom is survived by his wife of 39 years, Kathleen McNally Pratt of Hamilton, OH; his daughters, Kelly Jacobs and husband, Ron of Palm City, FL; Katie Custer and husband, Max of Durham; his brothers, Ted Pratt and wife, Peg of Chapel Hill; Andy Pratt and wife, Frances of Smith Mt Lake, VA; Jamie Pratt and wife, Denise of Dayton, OH; his sister, Susan Pratt of Smith Mt. Lake, VA; his grandchildren, Sophia Jacobs, Jack Jacobs, Chloe Custer, and Kira Custer.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered Friday, February 14, 11:00 a.m. at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 920 Carmichael Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27515.
Interment with Full Military Honors will be Tuesday, February 18, 1:00 p.m. at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Co.
In lieu of other remembrances, donations may be made to: Class of ’70 Gift Fund USAFA Endowment 3116 Academy Drive USAF Academy, CO 80840-4475 or The Hock Family Pavilion Hospice at Duke Hospice 4023 North Roxboro Road Durham, NC 27704.
Arrangements for the Pratt family are under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service. Online condolences: http://www.hallwynne.com, select obituaries.