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Herbert Thomas Pratt


1926 - 2014
Herbert Thomas Pratt

AGE: 88 • Newark

Herbert T. Pratt, 88, of Newark, DE, died peacefully on Jan. 23, 2014, after a brief illness.

A native of Eden, North Carolina, he graduated from Tri-State College of Engineering. After a brief career with Fieldcrest in Eden, in 1952 he moved with his young family to New Castle, Delaware, where he took a position with the textile fibers department of the DuPont Company. He enjoyed his career for its variety of projects in man-made fibers, textile research, technical service, and forensic science. He was the recipient of many awards and honors, including the Olney Medal and the Harold C. Chapin Award, both from the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC), and three major awards from the American Society of Testing and Materials for his pioneering work in terminology management. He was a 60-year member of the American Chemical Society. He had published over 200 papers on textiles and the history of chemistry.

He retired from Dupont in 1985 and immediately enrolled in a history program at Goddard College, receiving his MA degree in 1987. An avid collector of antiquarian books, his collection of 4000 volumes is now with the Chemical Heritage Foundation. He founded CHF's Bolton Society, an organization for antiquarian chemistry book collectors.

His life-long love of history led to involvement with the Archeological Society of Delaware, the Torch Club of Delaware, the Historical Society of Delaware, the New Castle Historical Society, Delaware Bibliophiles, the Society for the History of Chemistry, and Friends of Bellanca Aircraft. He was also an archivist for the New Castle Presbyterian Church. He received an Award for Outstanding Service from the Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation for his design and oversight of the restoration of the historic Mount Pleasant Meeting House and Parsonage at Bellevue State Park near Wilmington. He was a member of the New Castle Presbyterian Church.

He was never afraid of an idea. With his cup of hot water in hand, he loved nothing more than stimulating conversation with people holding different points of view. His wealth of knowledge in science, religion, history, and technology kept him intellectually engaged throughout his life.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a daughter, Ann Girvin, who passed away in 2012. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Mary; sons, Warren Pratt and his partner Susan Swan, and Michael Pratt; daughter, Alison and her husband Steve Hetzel; 4 grandchildren, Taeyana Kamir, Evan Queitsch (Tammy), Matthew Queitsch (Betsy Fisher) and Reid Hetzel; and 4 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the New Castle Presbyterian Church, 25 East Second Street, New Castle, DE 19720 or to the .

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Published in The News Journal on Jan. 26, 2014
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