Aug. 29, 1919 – April 12, 2017
Eugene Joseph Pratt, of Tarpon Springs, Fla., a retired executive with Niagara Share Corp., died April 12 in North Pinellas Care Center, Palm Harbor, Fla. He was 97.
Born in Buffalo, he attended Canisius High School and helped organize baseball and hockey leagues in Schiller Park on the city’s East Side.
He enlisted in the Army in World War II and rose in the ranks to serve as a captain on Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s staff in the Pacific. He helped coordinate Japanese surrender plans in Tokyo and was present at the surrender ceremony. He was awarded the Bronze Star.
Returning from service, he attended the University of Buffalo at night on the G.I. Bill, earning a bachelor’s degree in business while working full time.
Mr. Pratt became a chartered financial analyst with Niagara Share Corp., the Buffalo-based closed-end investment fund, and advanced to become director of investment research, executive vice president and a member of the board of directors. He retired in 1981.
In the 1960s, he recommended an investment of about $200,000 in a Rochester-based company that invented a process called xerography. The company became Xerox Corp. and the investment grew to more than $20 million.
He volunteered as a financial adviser to the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur and was instrumental in keeping Mount St. Mary’s High School operating in the 1970s. He also was a longtime supporter of Our Lady of Victory Homes in Lackawanna.
A former Kenmore and Williamsville resident, he was a past president of the Bond Club of Buffalo. He also was a member of the Buffalo Club, the Buffalo Athletic Club, the Mid-Day Club and the Innsbruck Country Club in Tarpon Springs.
An avid sailor, he maintained boats in Point Abino, Ont., and Tarpon Springs and served as captain on boat charters in the British Virgin Islands. He and his wife were active in the Buffalo Canoe Club and served on the Burgee Race Committee for 20 years. At the Buffalo Club, he formed a “sailors group.”
He also traveled extensively in Europe and Asia.
His wife of 56 years, the former Marie A. Klipfel, died in 2003.
Survivors include a daughter, Marcia P. Martin; three sons, E. Douglas, David M. and Michael J.; 12 grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in Christ the King Catholic Church, 30 Lamarck Drive at Main Street, Snyder.