John Robert Prager Mar. 4, 1926 - Feb. 13, 2011 John Robert Prager, born March 1926 to John and Mary Prager in Morgantown, West Virginia. He graduated from Morgantown High School in 1943, where he played varsity basketball. He went on to join the Navy, where he crewed on the destroyer Melvin, which was engaged in numerous naval battles in the Pacific, including Leyte, Surigao, Okinawa, and Saipan, for which he received eight battle stars. After the war John returned to West Virginia and worked in the coal mines before attending University of West Virginia for 1 1/2 years. He then joined the Air Force and became a teaching and training specialist. He retired from the Air Force in 1966 as a MSGT, with a bachelor's degree from University of Omaha and a master's degree from St. Mary's University in San Antonio. John moved his wife and two children to Austin and entered a doctorate program at UT, where he taught English literature and poetry and worked with student teachers. In the mid '70s he bought land in Bastrop County, near Webberville, was instrumental in founding the Central Texas Lignite Watch, researched at the Texas Law Library to advocate against LCRA, Texas Railroad Commission and ALCOA's efforts to mine for lignite in Bastrop County. John, not a lawyer, petitioned the Secretary of the Interior in U.S. district court to designate Camp Swift unsuitable for lignite mining. He wrote testimony opposing a bullet train that was to go through Bastrop County, opposed the Longhorn Pipeline, searched and found record sized trees, including the largest American elm and black locust. John also grew grapes and made wine for a period of time. Those who knew John Prager were charmed by his warm, unassuming manner, his sense of humor, his knowledge of politics, history, art, literature, and nature. John R. Prager was interred at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery. The plaque on the niche lists Mr. Prager's military service. The inscription reads: "AN AMERICAN SON" Condolences to: J.R. Prager, 11062 S. Military Tr. Suite 448, Boynton Beach, FL 33437
Published in Austin American-Statesman on Apr. 21, 2011.