Charles Ivan Prather, 67, of McPherson passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, June 27, 2013.
The son of Mary (Bechtel) and Frederick Hilton Prather, Charles was born on March 18, 1946, in Dodge City. After spending his first few years living in Ford, Kan., Charles moved with his family to Meade, where he began grade school. He graduated from Meade High School in 1964 and then graduated cum laude in 1968 with a BA in history and political science from Southwestern College in Winfield.
Charles married Cynthia Bidwell on Dec. 18, 1967, in Eldorado. After honorably serving in the U.S. army during the Vietnam War, Charles taught high school history in Arkansas City and coached both golf and football. They then moved to Topeka, Kan., so that he could attend Washburn University's School of Law.
After completing his law degree in 1976, Charles and family moved to McPherson, where he joined a local firm. Charles later established his own practice and, in addition to private practice, served for a time as McPherson County’s Assistant County Attorney. After that, he was appointed District Court Trustee for the Ninth Judicial District, a position he took very seriously, and became a champion for his client families. He built the trustee programs in both McPherson and Harvey Counties and faithfully enforced child support for more than 27 years. Charles was a member of the Washburn Law Alumni Association, the Kansas Bar Association, and the Kansas Child Support Enforcement Association. He was a longtime member of the Kiwanis Club of McPherson and recently served as Lieutenant Governor for the Kansas District Division 5 of Kiwanis International. He donated blood to the American Red Cross throughout his lifetime, reaching a milestone of more than 17 gallons.
Charles was a member of the First Congregational United Church of Christ in McPherson and was deeply involved in the activities of both his local church and the broader UCC Kansas-Oklahoma Conference, in which he served on the council and participated in numerous capacities during the years. In his home church, Charles served as choir director for more than 30 years and often sang as a soloist for special music. He enjoyed preparing Thanksgiving dinner and Easter breakfast for the congregation and guests each year. He served in many leadership capacities, and recently went through the process of becoming a licensed minister within the UCC church. He was currently filling the pulpit as the congregation went through the search process for a new minister. Charles was deeply contemplative in his spirituality, and believed in not only faith, but action. He modeled his beliefs through service in his local and world communities and was a fervent advocate for social justice.
Charles was an avid sportsman. In his younger days, he played golf, tennis, basketball and football. He was a bowler and bowled at least two perfect 300 games in his life. He served as longtime secretary for the local bowling league and was inducted into the McPherson Bowling Association Hall of Fame. He was a cub master for Pack 133, a scout master for Troop 133, and was himself an Eagle Scout. He loved being outdoors, observing, hunting and fishing. He continued to play golf regularly with his brother and friends and was a member of the McPherson Senior Golf League and the Turkey Creek Golf Course.
Page 2 of 2 - Charles and his wife were divorced in 2001 but share four children for whom he has been a proud and loving father. As his children grew and went their own ways, he visited wherever they were, or gathered them for time together in the family cabin in Colorado. He also found tremendous joy in spending time with his three grandsons and watching them grow.
Charles was the best Father, the best Brother, the best friend and advocate anyone could ask for. He would want everyone to know that he has moved on to a better place. However, he will be dearly missed by all of us whose lives he touched.
Surviving family members include his children, Tanya Prather and partner Mark King of Nashua, N.H., Christa Prather Stern and husband Allon Stern of Leesburg, Va., Nathan Prather and his wife Leanna of McPherson, and David Prather of Atlanta, Ga.; his siblings Larry Prather and wife Marilyn of Buhler, Carol Zart of Waverly, Iowa, Linda Prather of Leavenworth, Kan., and “adopted” sister Benay Richardson of Leavenworth; his grandsons Joshua Aaron Prather Stern, Alexander Jacob Prather Stern, and Andrew Charles Prather Stern; his ex-wife Cynthia Bidwell, and numerous loving friends, relatives and colleagues.
Charles was preceded in death by his parents, Mary and Hilton Prather, and a brother John Prather.
Friends are invited to call from 4 to 7 p.m. today with family present at Glidden-Ediger Chapel, McPherson.
The funeral service will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 3, at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 224 S. Maple, McPherson.
Memorials are suggested to the First Congregational United Church of Christ of McPherson, or to the Kiwanis Club of McPherson for the International Project to Eliminate Maternal Neonatal Tetanus. Memorials can be sent in the care of the Glidden-Ediger Funeral Home, 222 W. Euclid St., McPherson, KS 67460.