Harold P. Pruitt Jr., 93

Harold P. Pruitt Jr. died Wednesday, Oct. 5, after 93 years of joyful life.

He was the son of Harold P. Pruitt Sr. of Anderson County and Nora Wells Pruitt originally from Cass County, Texas. Harold was born in Honea Path. After working at the Commercial Bank of Honea Path for a brief period, he joined the United States Navy in 1943 to serve in World War II. During his military training he met his wife of 65 years, Leola M. Pruitt (deceased) who was his naval instructor and became his lifetime soulmate.

Harold-PruittLCDR (retired) Pruitt served 30 years in the United States Navy first as an enlisted sailor and then as a commissioned officer, serving during World War II, the Korean Conflict, and Vietnam. He spent his career initially flying in the PBY seaplane and later flying in the Navy’s Super Constellations reconnaissance airplanes over the North Atlantic Barrier from Newfoundland to the Azores searching for submarines. His favorite service mission was flying with The Weather Recon Squadron 4 Hurricane Hunters out of Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, flying into hurricanes to gather weather and hurricane tracking information. He was a recipient of the Meritorious Unit Commendation, the National Defense Medal (Bronze Star), World War II Victory Medal, and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Cuba. He was a member of the Military Officers Association of America, the Fleet Reserve Association, and a subscriber to the Navy Times which he looked forward to reading each week.

After his distinguished military service, Pruitt attended The University of South Carolina as a non-traditional, first generation student where his academic achievements resulted in his induction as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the most prestigious academic honor society in higher education and into Beta Gamma Sigma, an international honor society serving business programs.

He is survived by his daughter, Linda Pruitt (Dan Cummings, deceased) of La Grangeville N.Y.; son Dennis Pruitt and his wife Patricia of Chapin; and son Jerry Pruitt and his wife Sharon of Cato, Wisc.; six grandchildren: Dennis, Jr. (Suzanna), Matthew (Colleen), Kaitlyn (Byrd), Sean, Rebecca and Christopher; and six great-grandchildren: Taylor, Teresa Marie, Adelle, Thadd, Daly and Rory Blake.

Leola and Harold were especially proud of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and the wonderful family legacy they created. Along with his family, Harold loved the United States Navy, his opportunity to serve his country, and his spiritual faith. He loved Temple Baptist Church of Columbia, SC where he had been a member since 1972. He continued to attend Sunday services until his last living days and found joy and comfort from his current minister, Reverend David Sturgeon, his previous ministers, Reverend Mike McGee (deceased) and Reverend Jim Salters (deceased), and his fellow parishioners—too many to name—who had known and loved Harold as he loved them.

LCDR (retired) Pruitt came to love and appreciate the compassionate care he received from Dr. Butler and his entire staff at South Carolina Oncology Associates, the wonderful team of caregivers at National Health Care, Parklane, where he spent his last six months of life, and the caregivers from Palmetto Health Hospice who gave of their time, love, perspective, song and timely emergency response. Harold was well-known among his caregivers for giving out chocolate oranges in appreciation for the kindness shown to him.

A funeral service celebrating the life and legacy of Harold P. Pruitt Jr. will begin at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 10, at Thompson Funeral Home at Greenlawn Memorial Park Chapel with private entombment in Greenlawn Memorial Park Mausoleum. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.

Memorials may be made to Temple Baptist Church (806 Universal Drive, Columbia, SC 29209), the Oliver Gospel Mission (1100 Taylor St., Columbia, SC 29201), and Palmetto Health Hospice (1400 Pickens St., Suite 100, Columbia, SC 29201).

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