PRATA, JOHN B. JR. of North Kingstown and Naples, FL passed away on December 15, 2014 at 12:15pm. He was the loving husband of Raisa E. Prata with whom he had resided for 16 years. Born in Providence, he was the son of the late John and Yolanda (Bernardoni) Prata.
Besides his wife, he is survived by his three children: Elizabeth of Georgia, Christopher (Sharon) of RI and Jessica (Stephen) Ph.D. Miller of Maine and two grandchildren. He also leaves three sisters: Norma Prata of Providence, Lorraine (Raymond) Tortolani of Florida, Janet Msumba of Massachusetts, two grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
John was graduated from Classical High School, class of 1951, and the University of RI in 1954, with a degree in Accounting and Economics. He was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity where he served as Secretary and Treasurer.
He entered the Navy Officer Candidate School and was commissioned an Ensign in May, 1955. John served aboard the USS Estes out of San Diego and participated in Operation Redwing in the Marshall Islands, Redwing being the hydrogen bomb tests at Bikini and Enewetok atolls. He later served at Quonset Point where he was the Paymaster.
|Redwing: “Erie”, Runit Island, Enewetak Atoll, 1956|
Upon separation from active duty John entered the New England Institute of Anatomy in Boston where he received a diploma in embalming in June 1959. He was elected President and graduated first in his class. He entered the family business where he served his apprenticeship and earned titles of Registered Embalmer and Licensed Funeral Director. During his tenure at Prata Funeral Homes John was elected President and Treasurer, eventually expanding the business from four funeral homes to nine, becoming the largest Funeral Service firm in RI. He was also President and Treasurer of the New England Soliciting Co. and The Merritt Co., both being burial insurance firms. He also founded Westminster Memorials, Inc. a cemetery monument company.
In 1972 John founded J. B. Prata, Ltd. a coater of adhesive tapes and printer labels, marketing its products throughout the U.S., Europe and South America. In 1964 he entered politics in East Greenwich as a member of the East Greenwich Republican Town Committee. He ran for and was elected a member of the Town Council in 1966 and was re-elected in 1968 serving as Vice President of the Council. In 1972 he was elected Chairman of the Republic Town Committee. With quality candidates and outstanding efforts by Committee members, all 20 of the contested positions were won by Republicans, a first in everyone’s memory.
He also served as President of the East Greenwich Jaycees, founded the Golden Agers Club, was a founding member of Save the Bay, and a founder and officer of The Greenwich Club. Online condolences may be made at http://www.fullernaples.com