John Pritchard, 86

John Pritchard, a resident of Little Falls, peacefully left his earthly body Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012, due to a long-term heart condition.

A celebration of John’s life will take place Saturday, February 4, 2012 – 11:00 a.m. at Cushing Baptist Church, 26298 Bear Road, Cushing, MN 56443.

John had been living at the Lutheran Care Center in Little Falls while recovering from a broken femur. Audrey Pritchard, John’s wife of more than 58 years – married Aug. 18, 1953 – lives in Little Falls. John was born July 19, 1925, the son of Fredrick Pritchard and Hazel Bateman Pritchard, on the family farm in Becker County (between Osage and Park Rapids). He spent his younger years helping his family on the farm and discovering his aptitude and love for mechanical engines. When John was 19, he traveled with his family to Everett, Wash. in search of better health for his father and employment (during the economic depression). While there, John worked in a paper mill. After the family returned to Minnesota, the passing of John’s father, Fred, soon followed. John attended Northwestern Bible college in Minneapolis and Oak Hills Bible School in Bemidji. While at Oak Hills he toured with the college choir and maintained the college vehicles. John then joined the project to build the world’s largest earth-filled dam (at that time) Garrison Dam, in Riverdale, N.D. John worked a short while in construction then became a mechanic specializing in the euclids (large earth moving implements). It was at a church near there that John met his wife, Audrey – she had come to visit her brother and sister-in-law who were also working on the project. After John and Audrey’s marriage in 1953 at Cushing Baptist Church, they taught bible school with John’s brother David in Devil’s Lake, N.D. Returning to Minnesota, John and Audrey attended Oak Hills for a time before moving to Park Rapids, where John worked as a mechanic at Parkway Motors and later to Wadena, (Stuntebecks Automotive and Carter’s Station) where they began a family and on to Osage (Glenn Bateman’s Garage). In 1965, John and Audrey moved their family to southwestern Minnesota and opened John’s Service; a mechanical repair business in Dundee, serving the local community, while living nearby in the Fulda area. In 1978, they moved to Worthington, where John worked at Spomer Motors. For many years, John and Audrey were on maintenance staff at First Baptist Church in Worthington also volunteering teaching Sunday school and Awana. After moving to Little Falls in 1994, John worked at Walmart and both John and Audrey worked in maintenance at the Alliance Church and volunteered in the community. They moved to Dundee in 2001, and in 2006 returned to live in Little Falls. In his lifetime, John worked for more than 50 years as a mechanic on autos, trucks, tractors, farm machinery and nearly every other handyman project imaginable. John loved music and singing and played many instruments by ear; including violin, guitar, piano and autoharp. Playing and singing was a highlight at many family gatherings. At a young age John came to know Jesus as his personal Savior, and was a loving and faithful husband, father, grandfather and friend.

John is survived by his wife, Audrey; daughter, Julie (Calvin Raab) Turbiville of Elgin, N.D.; son, Darrel (Janet) Pritchard of Colorado Springs, Colo.; daughter, Rose (Steven) Peterson of Bakersfield, Calif.; son, Randy Pritchard of Dundee; son, Rodney (Tarah) Pritchard of Minneapolis; 13 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren; brother, Dale (Janice) Pritchard of Osage; sister, Betty Pellegrino of Norwalk, N.C.; sister, Ida (Don) Benham of Park Rapids; sister-in-law, Jeanne Pritchard and many nieces and nephews. John was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, David, Herbert, Harold, Donald, Robert and Fredrick Pritchard; sister, Lydia Christlieb; sisters-in-law, Ellen, Luella and Lois; brother-in-law, Ray Christlieb.

Shelley Funeral Chapels