9/1/31 to 6/22/04
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LUCIEN N. PRATT
LUCIEN N. PRATT, 72, of Virginia Avenue, a retired park
police officer and part-time fireman, died yesterday at Our Lady of Fatima
Hospital, North Providence.
He was the companion of Diane
B. Brown. Born in Manville, a son of the late Norman and Marie (Beaudette)
Pratt, he had lived in
Woonsocket for the past 12 years, previously living in Cumberland.
Mr. Pratt was a Rhode Island
Park Police officer for 30 years, retiring in 1989. He served for a time as
chief of the park police.
He had initiated the Rhode
Island Title Law for boats and had appeared before a subcommittee of Congress to
discuss a proposal for the National Title Law. He served on the Woonsocket
School Committee for two years.
He was a part-time fireman with
the North Cumberland Fire Department, a past commander of St. Joseph's Vets, a
32nd-degree Mason and a member of the Palestine Shrine. He was a member of the
Woonsocket Lions, the Cumberland Fraternal Order of Police, the American Legion
and Circle Laurier in Woonsocket. He was a past chief of the Woonsocket Police
He was an Air Force veteran of
the Korean War, later serving with the reserves and the National Guard.
Besides his companion, he
leaves a daughter, Patricia Pratt, and two sons, Michael A. and Douglas A.
Pratt, all of
Cumberland; and two grandchildren.
Relatives and friends are
invited and may call Friday 4-8 p.m. at Bellows-Falso
Funeral Home, 160 River Rd., Lincoln, RI. A funeral service will be held
Saturday at 10 a.m. at Bellows-Falso Funeral Chapel. Burial with military honors
will be in St. James Cemetery, Manville. In lieu of flowers, contributions in
his memory to Shriner's Hospital for Children, 51 Blossom St., Boston, Ma.,
02114-2699, would be appreciated.
Pratt, public servant, dies at 72
JOSEPH B. NADEAU , Staff
WOONSOCKET — Lucien N. Pratt had already lived a very active life when he
retired from the state Department of Environmental Management in 1990 after
spending 30 years with its Parks Police Division.
wasn’t the type of person to head off to some easy chair and say he’d done
his share. He took on a new challenge as chief of the city’s Police Reserves
and helped the supplemental force play a more active role in local policing.
And after completing that task several years ago, Pratt found himself yet
another job in 2001, that of an elected member to the School Committee.
He did so even as he began to lose ground against chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease , an illness that robbed him of his lung capacity and
eventually his ability to walk.
Pratt would go on to finish his tour of duty on the School Committee just as
he had finished several tours of duty with branches of the military, the Air
Force during the Korean War, the Army, the Rhode Island Island National
Guard and the Army Reserves.
On Tuesday, Pratt’s battle with disease ended at Our Lady of Fatima
Hospital, in North Providence, a facility he visited frequently while
attempting to stage one last recovery fight.
He was 72.
“I know he was very ill,” former School Committee Vice Chairman Peter Vangel
said when contacted about Pratt’s death on Tuesday.
“He told me he wasn’t feeling very well,” Vangel, who had served closely
with Pratt on the panel during his two-year tenure.
Pratt had faced similar stays in the hospital several times during his term,
but always made it back to attend meetings.
“He was ill, but basically made the most of meetings,” Vangel said.
“No doubt about it, it was certainly difficult for him, but he showed up
because he wanted to be there,” Vangel said.
As a member, Pratt worked with Vangel and former School Committee Chairman
Edward O. Boucher to revise committee rules, increase security in local
schools and oversee the completion of two new elementary schools, Gov. Aram
Pothier and Edward Harris.
He also served as a whip of sorts for the majority headed by Boucher — at
times debating issues with current School Committee member John F. Ward, and
former member Michael Lavigne — and voicing strong support for positions set
out by Vangel, a retired school superintendent and longtime local educator.
“He had a strong commitment to serve on the committee and was someone
concerned about what was happening with public education,” Vangel said.
While sometimes at odds with Pratt and the past committee majority, Ward on
Tuesday also voiced praise for his interest in serving on the panel and
overcoming the illness that stood in his way.
“I respect him a lot for coming out and running for office even when he was
in ill health,” Ward said.
“He really did his best to contribute in the way he thought best,” he said.
“You have to respect that, whether you agree or disagree with his views,” he
Pratt also finished out his term, Ward said, showing up at meetings even
after deciding he would not run again.
“He was always there and always contributed,” he said. “He put himself
through the utmost pain and suffering to show up and participate.”
The School Committee meets Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the Woonsocket Area
Career and Technical Center and will pause for a moment of silence for those
present to remember Pratt and offer their prayers, Ward said.
John R. Dionne, a longtime friend of Pratt’s, said he was feeling quite
saddened by his death.
“At 72 years old, it certainly was too young,” Dionne said.
While most recently active with School Committee, Dionne said Pratt was
involved in many other activities in his community over the years. In
addition to the Police Reserves where he worked closely with Dionne under
Mayor Francis Lanctot’s Administration, Pratt was also a member of the Lions
Club, a 32nd-degree Mason and an active veteran.
“I think his community spirit was second to none,” Dionne said.
Pratt was a past Commander of the St. Joseph Veterans Association on Louise
Street and also a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 11519, holding
the position of Service Officer, and a member of the Poisson-Cournoyer
Chapter 12 Post of the Disabled American Veterans in Manville.
He also served at the Pentagon for a time after leaving the Air Force.
Dionne recalls Pratt as making many trips as a Lion to transport local
children to their appointments at Boston burn centers and also working with
kids as “McGruff the Crime Dog,’’ while helping the local police department
in neighborhood watch programs.
It was during such work that Dionne said he found Pratt to be a valued
“I have never met anyone in my life, and I have met a lot of people, as
loyal as Lucien Pratt. When he got to know you and supported you, it was
always 100 percent,” he said.
Pratt’s loyalty to his community was also “second to none,” as evidenced by
his interest in serving on the School Committee even as his illness
Dionne credited Pratt’s companion, retired Woonsocket Police Capt. Diane
Brown, with helping him through the most difficult times he faced.
“If it wasn’t for Diane Brown, I’m sure Lucien Pratt would have been in a
nursing home a couple of years ago,” he said.
Brown transported Pratt to his many appointments as his reliance on oxygen
increased, and helped him survive many life-threatening bouts of respiratory
“If you went into her house and saw his room, you would think you were in a
hospital,” he said. “She’s a very special person and she’s strong,” he said.
In addition to his community service, Pratt’s legacy will include his work
for the Department of Environmental Management helping to write the state’s
boat titling law, Dionne noted.
The law became a copy for a national marine craft title law and helped in
law enforcement efforts to curb boat theft and reuse of stolen vessels.
“Lucien Pratt was a very unique individual,” Dionne said while recalling his
Pratt also leaves a daughter, Patricia Pratt of Cumberland, and two sons,
Michael A. and Douglas Pratt, also of Cumberland, and two grandchildren.
His funeral will be held Saturday morning at 10 a.m. from the Bellows -Falso
Funeral Chapel 160 River Road, Lincoln.