Robert Douglas (Bobby Doug) Prather
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October 23, 1943 - December 18, 2013
Bobby was born to Robert E. and Merline (Burdick) Prather at St. Mary's Hospital October 23, 1943 and was raised on the family ranch on Roan Creek. He was predeceased by his mother and father.
Bobby is survived by is wife, Mary; son, Jason (Jennifer); daughters, Sarah (Robbie) Richmond, Lori (Greg) Latham; brothers, Lyle (Margaret), Ned (Dollie) and Dick (Connie) all of DeBeque; his sister, Nancy Gibson of Denver; and his special friend and son-in-law, Stu McClaskey (Dora). He is also survived by seven grandchildren, a great-grandchild and one on the way as well any many nieces and nephews.
Well my Sweetheart, you left for higher ground while asleep at home in your favorite chair, with what you commonly referred to as the joyous noise of children, dogs, family and friends surrounding you with a little country music in the background. It was just a few hours short of the anniversary of your cancer diagnosis of December 19, 2011 when you passed. With the help of Dr. Chipman you turned your six month sentence into two years of visiting distant friends, family, especially sister, Nancy, and as many Bench Rest shooting competitions as time allowed. You considered yourself lucky to avoid the agony so may encounter with cancer. You were able to take a cancer drug, handle the side affects, "with a little help from my friends" and live life to the fullest. You took time to cherish it. "I'm a happy man," you said. "I go to sleep with my puppy and wake to have coffee and sweet rolls with my baby grandson and hugs and kisses from my grandchildren, (Kaitlyn, Karen and Hunter), who live across the street.
Your first passion was motorcycle racing - desert and motocross and trails throughout Colorado, Utah and Nevada. While you were in the Marines you purchased your first Triumph and found yourself riding sometimes with Steve McQueen in the California desert. You bought your son, Jason, a little Suzuki JR50 when he was five and taught your nieces and nephews how to ride. We'd gather up Jason, nephews, Paul and Jake and off we'd go racing. That little bike is still in action. And when you coached soccer and basketball, while Jason was growing up, your booming voice kept everyone in line.
You always looked forward to being with your brothers in hunting camp, sitting around the table with a little "mist and seven" sharing hunting stories that became more embellished as the years went by. The hunt wasn't as important as being with your brothers.
You liked to brag about the two of us getting married in Las Vegas, May 1, 1969 saying "we've been together forty-six years - forty-four married and two years practice."
You wore many hats: cowboy, ranch veterinarian, getting to fly with Betty Clark "the wild woman" to check livestock. You were the founder of the Prather Guide and Hunting service that is still run today by brother, Ned. You worked for Occidental Petroleum during the oil shale boom, becoming good friends with your boss, Harry McCarthy, and sharing venison steak and cream gravy with Harry and Dr. Armand Hammer. They gave you the opportunity to present a history of oil shale on a Nova documentary because of your family's history in oil shale. You always appreciated Dr. Hammer's respect for the landowners. After the oil shale bust you cut and sold firewood. Jason and I stacked six cords at a time in your dad's old yellow truck. You went on to be a heavy equipment operator and a "damn good cat skinner." You worked for Gould at Snowmass, Charlie DuCray building microwave towers throughout the Mountain West and Nebraska, Nielson Construction working on the Grand Valley Canal, and for Elam Construction on the Delta highway. You worked for your friend, Mike Brady, for many years building roads and pads for the oil companies around DeBeque and Parachute, finishing 26 years for Brady Construction.
You had a banner year in Bench Rest shooting in 2013, shooting a record four small groups - three in the 100 yard and one in the 200 yard at the Muy Grande at Greeley, Colorado in July. Your last gun shoot was at Don Deckerts in South Dakota at the Butch Kimmel Memorial shoot, in honor of your good friend who also died of cancer.
You liked building your own guns after apprenticing under Rodgers White. You admired your friend Truman Wilson's artistic work at setting the action into the stock. "None better than Truman" you said. And you appreciated your friend, Dan Dowling, for his machinist knowledge in building guns. You belonged to the NRA, the National Bench Rest Shooters Association, Lands End Bench Rest Shooters lifetime member and Hall of Fame Member in the Northern Colorado Bench Rest Shooters Association.
For many years you and Butch and Truman put on the Bench Rest shoots at the Orchard Mesa Gun Club.
In 1961 you graduated from DeBeque High School and after doing a stint of mostly partying at Mesa Junior College, you enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. The Vietnam issue was emerging and when you entered boot camp you found Vietnamese soldiers being trained at the same time and you thought the war was coming. You were a top marksman in the Marines, but were eventually assigned to the MACS - 3 Airborn Squadron working with the telephone and teletype communications involving some of the earliest transportable computers. Your unit was classified.
Services will be at Callahan-Edfast Mortuary at 11 a.m., Saturday, January 4, 2014. Internment will be at Veterans Cemetery on D Road, Monday, January 6, 2014 at 1 p.m. As a Marine, Bobby cherished the role of not only looking out for each other, but all the brotherhood of veterans. Charitable donations may be made to Catholic Outreach, St. Martin's Place, Phase II for Veterans housing.
Semper Fi my love.
Published in The Daily Sentinel on Jan. 1, 2014