James Gross “Jim” Prator

Published 1:18 pm Tuesday, June 19, 2018

James Gross “Jim” Prator, 85, of Picayune, Mississippi, died on June 16, 2018. He had been a resident of Picayune for 49 years.

Jim was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on June 1, 1933, to Lillian Gross and Theophilus Mangum Prator. He attended schools in New Orleans and went on to LSU at Baton Rouge for college, where he met his bride, Lynne Clare Abadie. They were married in New Orleans in 1955, and Jim graduated later that year from Tulane University with a bachelors degree in physics and math.

Jim had three substantive careers in his long working life. He began as an engineer in the oil industry, working for Schlumberger for 10 years, followed by another decade in the aerospace industry, as a test engineer for Boeing during the Apollo program at both Michoud and the Mississippi Test Facility. When that program was ending, rather than move the family to Seattle, Jim opted for entrepreneurship; he and Lynne opened Green Hollow Nursery in 1973. The nursery was a well-known area resource for flowers, plants, trees and landscaping for the next 25 years.

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During that time, Jim, an active volunteer in Catholic parishes and programs, achieved a Masters of Religious Education (MRE) from Loyola University in New Orleans. Subsequently, Jim began his third and most satisfying career in hospice work as Hospice Chaplain for Slidell Memorial Hospice and then St. Joseph’s Hospice, serving the greater Picayune area. He retired in August 2016 at the age of 83.

Jim is survived by his wife of 63 years, Lynne Abadie Prator, and his five children: Stefanie Prator Spera (and husband Jon M. Spera) of Sedona, Arizona; Jennifer Prator Henry of Jackson; Pamela Prator Dean of New Orleans; Timothy Mark Prator (and his wife Ginger Rhodes Prator) of Franklinton; and Christopher Scott Prator (and his wife Shannon Cambias-Prator) of Mandeville.

He has six living grandchildren: Austin Prator; Brittany Prator Weaver; Mary Henry; Taylor Henry; Natalie Henry; and Julia Dean; as well as four step-grandchilren, Andrew Osborne and Mia Osborne-Cambias; Shawn Rhodes and Shannon Rhodes Velazquez. He and Lynne have two great-grandchildren, Wesley Brian Weaver and Sirena Velazquez.

Jim has two surviving sisters, Betty Prator Baldauf of New Orleans and Jeanne Prator Harsh of Tyler, Texas. His nieces include Susan Baldauf Nichols, Cathi Bauldauf Aurelian, Sandra Harsh, Christine Harsh, and Nancy Harsh. His nephews include George Wiegand, Andre Baldauf, and Glenn “Rusty” Harsh.

He is preceded in death by four siblings: Theophilus Mangum “Bubba” Prator, Jr., Robert Prator, Suzanne Prator Wiegand Landry, and Anne Prator Carlquist, as well as his parents; and by his granddaughter Emily Henry Mackin.

A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at the Ignatius Chapel, in Bobet Hall, Loyola University, St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, on Saturday, June 23, 2018, at 11 a.m., followed by a reception on site.

In lieu of flowers, please send a donation payable to Loyola University New Orleans, Attention: University Ministry, 6363 St. Charles Avenue, Campus Box 214, New Orleans, LA 70118.