Local Obituaries

Mary Alice Pratt, Central Kentucky social activist, dies at age 82

Mary Alice Pratt was one of those who read about the death of a patient that did not have health care during a gathering of the Central Kentucky Chapter of Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care on the Lexington Theological Seminary lawn on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009 in Lexington, Ky.  Photo by David Perry | Staff
Mary Alice Pratt was one of those who read about the death of a patient that did not have health care during a gathering of the Central Kentucky Chapter of Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care on the Lexington Theological Seminary lawn on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by David Perry | Staff

Mary Alice Pratt, a longtime Central Kentucky social activist, died Thursday. She would have turned 83 on Friday.

Ms. Pratt had worked for decades on social justice issues with the University of Kentucky Newman Center-Holy Spirit Parish; was active in the Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice; and once wrote and performed a one-woman show on the life of Dorothy Day, a co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, whose work greatly influenced Ms. Pratt.

Originally from Rensselaer, N.Y., Ms. Pratt attended Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

She had been a public health nursing instructor at Berea College and the University of Kentucky and a visiting missionary nurse in Appalachia. She also was involved in BUILD — Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct Action — and Bread for the World, an anti-hunger group.

In addition, she had worked with the Manchester Clinic, Hope Center and Kentuckians for Health Care Reform. She was a frequent presence monitoring health care hearings in Frankfort.

"She has hundreds and hundreds of people in this community right now who know she has died and are grieving," said Mary Ellen Neill, a colleague. "In her quiet way, she affected so many people's lives. We are thinking, 'My God, what are we going to do without her?"

Ms. Pratt's close friend Sister Iris Ann Ledden said Ms. Pratt "was a very gentle, loving woman who never met a stranger."

Visitation will 3 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Newman Center, followed by a funeral Mass and reception. Milward Funeral Directors-Broadway is handling the arrangements.

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