By David Denson
The Gary community is remembering former Gary City Councilman Roy N. Pratt. Pratt, 82, passed October 1, at Methodist Hospital Southlake Campus.
Pratt served on the Gary Common Council as an at-large representative for 32 years. He was elected in 1980 with the support of Dozier T. Allen and Richard G. Hatcher.
The relationship between Pratt and Allen began in the late 60s while they were both living in the West Brook Apartment Complex and lasted through the years with them becoming political allies and business partners. “Our families had a good time whenever we visited the Wisconsin Dells with our children,” Allen said.
Allen made a point of noting that Pratt’s legacy will be beautification. “He wanted a beautiful city and for his 32 years on the city council he wanted a clean Gary.”
Pratt’s commitment to beautifying the city led him to form the City-Wide Clean Committee.
“He was all about the clean of the city,” said Gary Chamber of Commerce CEO Chuck Hughes.
Hughes served on the city council with Pratt and gives his former colleague credit for the idea of casino gaming in Gary. According to Hughes, Pratt got the idea after visiting a casino during a trip to Tunica, Mississippi and during a council meeting shared the idea with councilmembers. Hughes said it wasn’t long before Mayor Thomas Barnes’ administration began pursuing the idea.
Pratt and Hughes were a part of a group involved in trying to develop a Jackson Theme Park in the city. “Mayor Barnes got a call from the Jacksons saying they wanted to come back to Gary and do something really big. He and I were designated to be a part of team that met with the Jacksons,” said Hughes.
City Council Office Manager Vanessa Williams served as Pratt’s legislative assistant for 28 of the 32 years he was on the council. Pratt said she enjoyed working with him.
“He was comical and made each day pleasurable for me to work. He absolutely loved this city and the citizens, especially the elderly and the youth. He was an advocate for minority contractors, and economic development, wanted the city to have a booming economy. He was a profound civil servant,” said Williams.
One fond remembrance comes from his colleague on the Gary Common Council, current Calumet Township Trustee Kimberly K. Robinson.
“I was saddened to hear of the death of Councilman Pratt, a respected leader, friend and mentor,” Robinson said. “I valued his input and respected him as the Dean of the Common Council during my tenure. He welcomed young people into government and service. He had tremendous love and commitment for the City of Gary and for the numerous organizations that he supported. Our city has lost a beloved treasure.”
Visitation will be Friday, October 9 from Noon to 8 p.m. and the family hour and Kappa Alpha Psi Ceremony from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Genesis Convention Center.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, October 10 at 11a.m. at St. John Baptist Church.