Barbara Caryl Cody Pratt, age 94, of Rhinelander, died on July 13, 2021 at Grace Lodge in Rhinelander. She was born May 5, 1927 at Presbyterian Hospital in Chicago. Her mother was Margaret (Marge) Ann Monilaw Cody and her father was Arthur (Art) C. Cody.
She attended the University of Chicago Lab School (nursery school through fourth grade.) In 1937 her family moved to Winnetka, a north-shore suburb of Chicago. She attended New Trier High School, where she was a good student, active socially and in school activities.
During summers, her mother would take her to Camp Highlands in Sayner, where her grandfather William James (Doc) Monilaw was camp owner and director. There she played with children in the lodge and learned how to swim, row a boat and paddle a canoe. When she was 14 years old, she began work in the camp office with Nate Plimpton, the retired comptroller of the University of Chicago and bookkeeper for Camp Highlands.
In 1945, Barbara graduated from high school and went on to attend Wellesley College, where she studied art history, economics and political science. She continued to spend summers working in the office at Camp Highlands and it was there that she met George Pratt, a Harvard medical student and camp counselor. The two were married on Feb. 6, 1948 in Old South Church in Boston. While George completed his studies at Harvard and prior to her final year at Wellesley, Barbara left college and worked in Boston's North End as a secretary to support the young couple.
In July 1950, the couple moved to Rochester, Minn. so that George could begin a residency at the Mayo Clinic. Barbara found a job with Inquiry Correspondence at the clinic in order to help support the two. Their first child, Larry, was born there on Sept. 19, 1952. Shortly thereafter George was called to duty in the U.S. Army which was engaged in the Korean War. After six weeks of training in San Antonio, Texas, George left for Korea and Barbara took Larry to live with her parents, Art and Marge, in Winnetka. For the next year, George served with an infantry division and then with the 44th MASH Unit, and in 1953 was transferred to Japan, where he was joined by Barbara and Larry.
In July, 1954, the three returned to the U.S., and George was stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colo. A second child, Linda, was born there on Nov. 29, 1954. After George left the service in 1955, the family returned to Rochester, where George finished his residency, and in 1957 moved to Rhinelander. Their third child, Andy, was born on Sept. 25, 1958.
During the next two decades, Barbara cared for the three children and often had to deal with sicknesses, difficulties in school and controversies with their playmates. George writes that she did this "skillfully, religiously and without any complaints". Among other time investments, she served as a Cub Scout den mother.
After her three children left for college, Barbara worked as a freelance legal secretary in Rhinelander, eventually becoming the full time probate secretary at the O'Melia Law Office. She retired in 1992 at age 65. She proceeded to compete her B.A. degree at the University of Wisconsin, Superior using credits from her three years at Wellesley. She completed her college work in literature and studio art and graduated cum laude in 2003.
During their retirement years, George and Barbara spent many winters in Green Valley, Arizona and also enjoyed traveling and sailing in the United States and abroad. Barbara became an accomplished artist whose watercolor, woodblock and oil scenes from Northern Wisconsin were shown at numerous juried exhibits. She showed work at Nicolet College, the Three Lakes Art Center and at Diane's Frame Shoppe in Rhinelander. Though Wisconsin's Regional Art Association shows, some of her work qualified for the Annual State Exhibition at the University of Wisconsin's Pyle Center in Madison. Her oil painting "Snow" was juried into the Arts in Harmony International Show in Elk River, Minn. in 2010 and received an award of merit. Her tissue collage, "Escape" was also juried into their 2013 show. She had a special interest in painting the many essences of the Northwoods's winter along with doing further work in various forms of collage, using hand-painted papers, cloth, found objects, and other interesting materials. Barbara also volunteered at ArtStart and assisted the Northern Arts Council in staging their annual Northern Art Competition.
Barbara was an avid reader who enjoyed playing bridge and exploring poetry with a writers group. She was an active member of a bible study group at the Congregational church in Rhinelander and devoted many hours over the years to knitting winter caps and scarves for the Merchant Marine.
Barbara is survived by her three children: Andrew Pratt of Corte Madera, Calif., Linda Pratt of Peapack, N.J. and Lawrence Pratt of Falmouth, Mass., as well as her sister Anne C. McNitt of Milwaukee.
Visiting hours for Barbara will be held at a later date. Times will be announced in the River News and at www.carlsonfh.com. You may leave your private condolences for the Pratt family at www.carlsonfh.com.
The Carlson Funeral Home (715-369-1414) is serving the Pratt family.
Posted: Wednesday, December 22, 2021
Article comment by:
The shrinking Wellesley Class of 1949 sends condolences to Barbara Cody Pratt's family and, at the same time, wishes to express our pride in her completing her degree, after taking care of so many of life's duties!
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