It was a day of mourning.
It was a day of celebration of life.
It was Lenox Dale residents and friends who filled St. Vincent de Paul Church for the services of Ryan M. Pratt, 32, of Old Town Way, who died July 17 at his home.
The Rev. Christopher J. Waitekus, pastor, celebrated a Liturgy of Christian Burial for Mr. Ryan, who was employed for the past 12 years by the Town of Lenox as a custodian at Lenox Memorial Middle and High School.
Fr. Waitekus spoke of Mr. Pratt noting he was gregarious to a fault, always smiling and a friend to one and all.
“We morn today as we celebrate Ryan’s life before family and friends,” Fr. Waitekus said.
The church was packed with people, who know the Pratt family along with those who either worked with Mr. Pratt or were students at LMMHS.
In a word: It was Lenox Dale coming together to support its own family.
“His grin on his prayer card says it all,” Fr. Waitekus said, noting his love of family and friends, his love of machines and expertise in detailing of vehicles to a sparkling point of pride.
He once told me he had a special love for his son, Sammy, whom he spent much of his free time with. Ryan was ever helpful, he was always ready to acknowledge one’s good works.
For his homily, the priest read from a posted notice from Mr. Ryan’s guest book:
“To my dearest family, somethings I’d like to say… but first of all, to let you know, that I arrived okay. I’m writing this from heaven. Here I dwell with the Lord above. Here, there is no more tears of sadness; here is just eternal love.
Please do not be unhappy just because I’m out of sight. Remember that I’m with you every morning, noon and night. That day I had to leave you when my life on earth was through, God picked me up and hugged me and He said, ‘I welcome you.
It’s good to have you back again, you were missed while you were gone. As for your dearest family, they will be here later on. I need you here badly; you’re part of my plan. There so much that we have to do, to help our mortal man.’
God gave me a list of things, that he wished for me to do. And foremost on the list, was to watch and care for you. And when you lie in bed at night, the days chores put to flight. God and I are closest to you…in the middle of the night.
When you think of my life on earth, and all those loving years because you are only human, they are bound to bring you tears. But do not be afraid to cry; it does relieve the pain. Remember there would be no flowers unless there was some rain.
I wish that I could tell you all that God has planned. But if I were to tell you, you wouldn’t understand. But one thing is for certain, though my life on earth is o’er. I’m closer to you now, than I ever was before.
There are many rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb; but together we can do it by taking one day at a time. It was always my philosophy and I’d like it for you too… that as you give unto the world, the world will give to you.
If you can help someone who’s in sorrow and pain, then you can say to God at night…’My day was not in vain.’
And now I am contented … that my life has been worthwhile, knowing as I passed along the way, I made somebody smile.
So if you meet somebody who is sad and feeling low, just lend a hand to pick him up as on your way you go. When you’re walking down the street and you’ve got me on your mind; I’m walking in your footsteps just a half a step behind.
And when it’s time for you to go…from that body to be free. Remember you are not going…you are coming home to me.”
-Ruth Ann Mahaffey (author)
Besides his son, he leaves his parents, David J. and Cynthia M. (Cornwell) Pratt, at home; three brothers, David B. and Justin W. both of Lenox and Mitchell G. of Washington, Mass.; and his grandmother, Sally Cornwell of Hinsdale.
Private burial will be at the convenience of the family at Mountain View Cemetery in Lenox. Roche Funeral Home was in charge.