William S. Pritchard

William S. Pritchard

November 7, 1931 – April 3, 2021

Age 89. Bill was born in Omaha, Nebraska, with twin sister, Lois, to J. Stanley Pritchard and Blanche (Vitt) Pritchard, joining older sisters, Mary Ann Maxey and Dolores Wolff.

Bill was blessed with lifelong, colorful friends and the support of a devoted, loving, and caring wife.  He was proud of his seven children and enjoyed entertaining his 24 grandchildren with stories that were mostly true.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Mary Ann Maxey and Lois Pritchard; brothers-in-law; Jim Maxey and Jack Wolff; grandson, Benjamin Pritchard.  Survived by his wife of 63 years, Lorraine (O’Leary); sister, Dolores Wolff; seven children: Anne Walsh (Pat), Mary Grant (Joe), Ellen Platt (Jeff), John Pritchard (Jenelle), Jim Pritchard, Tom Pritchard (Lori), Julie Real (Dan); twelve grandsons; twelve granddaughters; five great-grandchildren.

VISITATION observing CDC guidelines: Wednesday, April 7th at 6:15pm to 7:30pm at St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church, 11802 Pacific Street, followed by VIGIL SERVICE at 7:30pm  MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL:  Thursday, April 8th at 10:30am at St Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church.  Interment: Calvary Cemetery with Military Honors.  Memorials are suggested to CUES School System.

To view live broadcasts of the Vigil Service, Mass, and Graveside Service, go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button on our home page.

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Bill was born in Omaha, Nebrasks, with twin sister, Lois, to J. Stanley and Blanche (Vitt) Pritchard.  They joined older sisters, Mary Ann Maxey and Dolores Wolff at their beloved home in the old Country Club neighborhood near Benson, Nebraska, just blocks from Louis Market & Bar.  In later years, Louis was the primary gathering spot for Bill and his Mutual of Omaha buddies, where the world’s problems were discussed and resolved with long-time friends, including Pat, Larry, Red, Duke, Bob, and Russ.

Bill and Lois began playing the accordion at an early age, performing on stage at various movie theatres.  The accordion remained a memorable part of Bill’s life, as he often serenaded departing guests to their cars with rousing renditions of “Peg O’ My Heart.”

As a boy, Bill loved spending summers at his Uncle Louie Vitt’s farm in O’Neill, Nebraska.  He and his cousins worked the hayfields alongside hired men, and Bill’s efforts made him a favorite with his uncle.  He often reminisced about the farm days and his cousins Regina, Mardi, and Gene.

Bill graduated from Creighton Prep and Creighton University, then served four years with the Air Force, primarily in England.  He enjoyed his overseas adventure and would return to London years later celebrating his 40th wedding anniversary.

Following the Air Force, he met his wife of 63 years, Lorraine O’Leary, at an outdoor dance in Peony Park’s Royal Grove.  The two were married September 7, 1957, and immediately following their reception drove to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where Bill began his career with Mutual of Omaha.  During their three years there, Anne and Mary were born, and after transferring back to Omaha they welcomed five more babies: Ellen, John, Jim, Tom, and Julie.

For 30 years, 5411 N. 68th St. was home to the Pritchards and just next door to the Wolff cousins.  Bill took meticulous care of the house and yard.  His tool area was extensive and orderly.  He was proud of his garden, which encompassed tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, and dill, all reluctantly weeded by his children.  Bill enjoyed many card-playing sessions with Ogden Street neighbors and the Wolffs.

Bill retired from Mutual of Omaha in 1985 at age 55 and began his second career at Benson Hardware.  He enjoyed working there and developed an extensive repertoire of stories about home-repair exploits.

About that time, he and Lorraine moved to the Hickory Road house, just one block away from daughter Mary Grant.  In a concession to the large yard, he purchased a riding lawn mower, which in later years he rode up the street to Mary’s house for an afternoon snack.  He was heard coming long before he arrived.  For a time, Bill also trapped squirrels in his back yard and transported them to Boys Town.  Noting the futility, Jim Kurzak commented, “You know, Bill, those squirrels are going to beat you back home.”

Bill and Lorraine celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in Hawaii, and in 1997 traveled to Ireland and London for their 40th anniversary with Dolores and Jack Wolff.  While hiking in Ireland, Bill experienced chest pain and had open-heart surgery after returning home.

That began his stoic, 25-year struggle with cardiac and other health issues. He leaned on his faith and always had a prayer book next to his reclining chair.  Being a busy man, he was frustrated by his gradual inability to do the tasks he wanted, but rarely complained.

Bill loved big band music, especially Stan Kenton, and was a loyal Cubs fan.  He was a man of few words, with a wry and pointed sense of humor. He was the source of many memorable quotes, some of which cannot be reprinted here.  Frugal to the extreme, his grocery coupon collection was a source of joy.  Bill never threw anything out, and once repaired a clock by containing its mechanism in a tuna fish can.                                        

He said he was most proud of his seven children.  Bill was a shrewd judge of character and taught his kids to be honest and ethical, and to love God. He spent time fishing with them during summer vacations in Minnesota and spent many a day in baseball parks watching the boys play.

Bill was blessed with lifelong, colorful friends and the support of a devoted, loving and caring wife, dubbed “St. Lorraine of Omaha” by their children.  His 24 grandchildren held a special place in his heart and he enjoyed entertaining them with stories that were mostly true.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Stanley and Blanche; sisters, Mary Ann Maxey and Lois Pritchard; brothers-in-law; Jim Maxey and Jack Wolff; grandson, Benjamin Pritchard. Survived by his wife of 63 years Lorraine (O’Leary); sister, Dolores Wolff; seven children: Anne Walsh (Pat), Mary Grant (Joe), Ellen Platt (Jeff), John Pritchard (Jenelle), Jim Pritchard, Tom Pritchard (Lori) and Julie Real (Dan); 12 grandsons; 12 granddaughters; five great-grandchildren.

Memorials are suggested to CUES School System.

 

 

2 Comments

  • Fr. Jim Clifton, SJ Posted April 6, 2021 9:13 am

    Tom: I remember you well from Creighton Prep. I’m sorry to learn of the death of your father. I will remember him at Mass this weekend, and pray, too, that God comfort all of you who miss him.

  • Diane Flynn Posted April 6, 2021 2:11 pm

    I was so sad to learn of Bill’s passing. This world needs his laughter and joy. Luckily he has left all of us with so many stories that will continue to bring smiles and chuckles. I can still see him entering the school office at St. Bernard to consult with Lorraine about a shopping list or tell us why the pepper shaker needed bigger holes or how he straightened the screws on the switch plates. After creating a little commotion he’d be off, leaving us with a brightened day. May the retelling of your many stories of Bill’s love, laughter, family and faith brighten your coming days. Dave and I wish we could be with you but we are still in AZ . Please know that you and Bill are in our prayers.

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