Johnny L. Prater – Obituary

By  | February 11, 2019 | Filed under: Laughlin Service Funeral Home, Obituaries

Johnny L. Prater, PhD, of Huntsville, passed from this life on February 8, 2019 after a brief illness. Johnny was born and raised in Weogufka as the oldest of three children born to W.R. and Lillian Prater.  At an early age Johnny became a student of science, math, his own self and his God.  Following those pursuits, he would go on to earn a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Auburn University in 1967, his master’s degree in engineering from the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) in 1980 and his doctorate degree in mechanical engineering from UAH in 1985.  With each graduation he was recognized for his highest honors academic achievement receiving recognition during Honors Convocation at his doctoral graduation.  While attending Auburn University, he was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

His successful and fruitful working career was with the US Army AMRDEC from which he retired after 42 ½ years of service.  During his tenure beginning as a co-op, he worked and served in many technical capacities which included a medal and certificate from the Secretary of the Army for exceptional civilian service as Deputy Director of the Propulsion and Structures Directorate from January 1999 to March 2006.  After retiring from US Army civilian service in 2006, he continued his work in similar pursuits with various contractors in Huntsville.

Johnny had a passion for racing which he inherited from his dad.  He built and rebuilt several MGBs and enjoyed racing his blue MGB and his yellow MGB.  He also enjoyed golf and the camaraderie with his fellow golfers.  His real joy was in helping his grandson follow his interests in trains, NASCAR racing, trying new foods, basketball, football and all things science.

Johnny is survived by his mother Lillian Prater of Weogufka, AL; his wife of 47 years, Ann Prater; daughter Lacey Nelson and her husband Chris; grandson Austin Prater Nelson, all of Huntsville; sister Carol Seale and her husband Jim of Wetumpka, AL; brother Bill Prater and his wife Beverly of Sylacauga; nephew Brian Seale and his wife Stephanie of Deatsville; and niece Melinda Simmons and her husband Dave of Decatur.

Visitation will be from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Friday at Laughlin Service Funeral Home followed by the funeral service with Granison Garrison officiating.  Burial will be in Maple Hill Cemetery.  
         In lieu of flowers,  the family requests that donations be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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