August 25, 1933 - November 24, 2020
Kenneth Alvin Prater was born to Curtis and Jesse Frances (Chapman) Prater on August 25, 1933 in Mexico, Missouri. He passed away on November 24, 2020 at Heritage Crossing in Geneva, Nebraska at the age of 87 years, 2 months, and 30 days. Kenneth was the 3rd of four children born in the family. Ken spent his entire youth and formative years in Mexico, graduating high school there in 1951. Upon graduation he joined the Navy for a 3-year enlistment, achieving the noncommissioned officer rank of E7/CPO (chief petty officer). He served during the time of the Korean War, spending the majority of his time on the island of Guam and was quite proud of his service in general but specifically his work on the MARS planes. He additionally served until 1959 in an ‘inactive reserve status’. Upon returning to his hometown of Mexico he soon met the love of his life Carole Branch. After a whirlwind courtship, these two married on April 7, 1956, spending their honeymoon in Springfield. Kenneth started at Gem City Business College on the GI Bill in Quincy, IL, from which he graduated with a business associate’s degree in accounting. After completion Ken & Carole moved to Louisiana, MO for Ken’s first grain elevator position. During this time their firstborn Anthony Curtis came along on March 30, 1957. In short order came Phillip Alan on August 16, 1958. The couple then lived in Salina for a brief spell, while Ken worked at one of the elevators (during the filming of Picnic). They then moved to Geneva, Nebraska in 1959 where Ken became the first and only manager of the Geneva Grain Company. Janice Ann was born in York, NE on February 8, 1960. Mary Carole was among the first 10 babies at the new Fillmore County Hospital on February 17, 1961. Then along came Kenneth Branch on July 24, 1962. Timothy Francis joined everyone else on December 1, 1964. An exhausted Carole gave birth to the final addition Donald Shane on October 2, 1967. Ken and Carole - along with ‘Geneva’s adopted grandmother’ Jesse Frances Prater (until her passing in 1972) - tried their best to maintain some semblance of order among the troops, typically finding a few new faces around the dinner table (you’re not OUR kid are you?). Needless to say the Praters was ‘the place to be’ in the neighborhood. At one point, dad came home for a quick lunch and was apprising the children seated at the table, half with casts on broken limbs, some with stitches but all mangled in some way, with dad stating “Thank GOD for health insurance and Doc Ashby!”. The Prater Family Truckster (and a consistent loan of Don R Miller’s Winnebago!) was probably what National Lampoon based their films on. Often spending many a summer in Mexico, the Prater kids were the envy of all their peers (wow, you guys travel internationally a lot!). When the Prater Army invaded restaurants while traveling, one memorable occasion was when a bug-eyed waitress asked dad “Are these ALL your kids?”, dad shot back “No, we had to leave the triplets at home”. Vacations included many stops along the way with picnic lunches packed so the kids could run off a lot of steam. With a vehicle packed with 7 children, mom, dad and grandmother including luggage - needless to say - it was always an adventure. Some of the most memorable places visited were Grand Canyon; Panama City, FL; swimming in the Great Salt Lake (Utah); the White Sands of New Mexico; Columbus, Ohio where Carole’s brother Bob and family were located; Eufala, AL where Carole’s parents retired from Mexico; Phoenix (where Ken’s brother Don and family lived); Kansas City, MO to visit Ken’s brother RC (who also was a master prankster). Of course the highlight was always the home stomping ground of Mexico, Missouri where the family fun was plentiful at his beloved sister Priscilla’s house, the Fishburn family. Ken and Carole enjoyed ballroom dancing at the old Flying V, traveling to see children and relations. Dad also had a lifelong love of sports, most especially baseball, remembering well seeing the St Louis Browns play in the 1940s. Ken always felt civically inclined and served on the Geneva City Council in the 1970s. A proud military veteran, he also enjoyed his time in the VFW and Legion and, in 2014, was able to go to Washington DC on a Korean War Honor Flight, seeing the sites of the capital city - a memory he cherished. Ken abided by the Golden Rule, was blessed with many friends, a loving family and, upon his transition to his final years at the Heritage Crossing Nursing Home in Geneva, was absolutely adored by staff and fellow residents. A memorable landmark of his stay at Heritage was being voted as Valentine King of the skilled facility on February 14, 2019. Kenneth was preceded in death by his parents Curtis & Jesse Frances; brother RC (Roland Curtis); and just recently his sister Priscilla. Kenneth is survived by the love of his life of 64 years Carole; children Curtis (Deb, daughters Hannah and Gabby); Phillip (Nancy, son Neal); Janice (Alan, daughters Shelbi & Kenzi); Mary (Harley, daughters Michelle, Robin and Katie); Ken (Susannah, children Megan, Tylor, Elana); Tim (Judy) and Don; great-grandchildren Kalon, Kade, Leighton, Leo, Leah, Taylar, Owen, Paxton and Tyler; and by his beloved brother and best friend Donald Prater. Thank you to one and all for the great memories and, BOY, were they great!! A private Memorial Mass for Kenneth was held on Friday, November 27, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Geneva, Nebraska. Father Harlan Waskowiak presided over the Mass. The musical selections “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art” were sang a cappella by the family. Military Honors were held outside of the St. Joseph Catholic Church following the Memorial Mass. They were performed by the Geneva VFW Samuel J. Marsh Post 7102. Kenneth will be placed in the St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery at a later date. Farmer & Son Funeral Home was in care of the arrangements and online condolences can be left at www.farmerandsonfuneralhome.com Memorials are suggested to the Geneva VFW, Fairmont Veteran’s Memorial, or the St. Joseph Catholic Church.
Kenneth Alvin Prater was born to Curtis and Jesse Frances (Chapman) Prater on August 25, 1933 in Mexico, Missouri. He passed away on November 24, 2020 at Heritage Crossing in Geneva, Nebraska at the age of 87 years, 2 months, and 30 days.... View Obituary & Service Information
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