Known as “Joe” to those who loved him, Herschel Pruitt was a husband, best friend, father, uncle, grandpa, and great-grandpa. Joe was preceded in death by his parents, brother, Ray, and sisters, Shirley and Betty. He leaves, Edna, his wife of 32 years, his brother, Larry (Vicki) of Urbana, IL, daughter, Michelle Brown of Urbana, IL, two sons, three step-sons: Rick (Rita) Dearinger of Chehalis, WA; Kile (Dawn) Dearinger of Tacoma, WA; Quintin Dearinger of Spanaway, WA. He also leaves nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren in Washington and three grandchildren and nine great grandchildren in Illinois. He loved them all even though he didn’t get to meet or see all that were in Illinois.
He was married to Edna for over 32 happy years. The running joke was their anniversary date. The original date was April 12th but had to be changed to April 18th as her parents couldn’t come from Kansas until then. For years Edna said the 12th was their day until one day at work her co-worker asked if she was sure of the date creating a “light bulb” moment…embarrassment followed. So from then on Joe teased her about the date. There were many a good laughs over that.
Joe was a Vietnam Veteran before the conflict was “official”. He was Airborne Flying Eagles Green Beret and very proud of it. He loved jumping. He had over 300 jumps from a perfectly good airplane including jumping at home a few times…once with a freshly casted broken ankle. The cast didn’t survive. He also spent time in Germany guarding one of the Holocaust criminals at Spandau Prison. He was in the Honor Guard and was asked to be one at Arlington National Cemetery but had to decline as he was married and had a family. When he returned home to the U.S. he was spit on…that always hurt him. In more recent times he was given hand-shakes and thanked for his service.
He drove semi-truck for over 20 years and then moved to Washington State where he was a Federal Police Officer for Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for over 14 years. He was so proud to be an officer and also served as a Field Training Officer.
Joe, liked to fish, wanted to go hunting but didn’t have the opportunity. Starting with tents and moving on to trailers, He and Edna liked camping. Among his great joys were eating homemade beef and noodles, cinnamon rolls and apple pie—but his greatest joy was his family.
His biggest regret was not quitting smoking years ago when Edna begged him to. He could be very stubborn. He passed from COPD, pulmonary fibrosis and a mass in his lung. Many thanks to Dr. McBride, his nurse Q, the hospice care givers and Tanya his nurse. Thanks also to our nurse advocate granddaughter, Tiffany. Joe didn’t want Hospice House and wanted his last days in his home.
In lieu of flowers please contribute to a veteran’s organization, pulmonary fibrosis research or to ASPCA in his name. His daughter Michelle said he always had this saying, “Pay when you’re born, pay when you live, and pay when you die”.
Rest in peace my love…will love and miss you always. There will be a military service at the Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, WA on November 7th at 11:00am.
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