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William Henry ‘Bill’ Pruitt, 88, exhibited strength and endurance through example

William Henry 'Bill' Pruitt
William Henry ‘Bill’ Pruitt

HAMPSTEAD — William Henry “Bill” Pruitt, 88, died Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, at home. Bill was born June 12, 1930, in Caswell County, son of the late Henry and Florence Terrell Pruitt.

Bill, or “Pop,” as he was known by his family, was born the son of sharecroppers on a small farm in Caswell County. The only healthy son among his four other siblings, including a brother who died at 18, Pop learned about the rigors of hard work and the weight of responsibility at a young age.

From the age of seven, he worked six days a week on the farm while also going to school, willingly carrying the burdens his family required of him in the arduous years of the Great Depression in the 1930s and early 1940’s. At the age of 18, he left home and joined the military, serving seven years, first in the U.S. Army, and later in the U.S. Air Force. After receiving his honorable discharge, Pop went back to school, completing his high school education (GED) and married his first wife, Nancy Carol Dalton, in the late 1950s, ultimately fathering his three sons, Billy, Danny and David during this time period.

When his first wife became ill, and was no longer able to care for herself or her children, Pop was again, required to step forward; this time, he was charged with the task of raising three sons on his own. Never wavering, recalling the hard-taught lessons of his own difficult youth, he clothed, fed and cared for his children and was a constant presence in their lives as they navigated together the perils of childhood puberty and teenage boy adolescence.

Pop remarried for the second and last time to Mary Helen Rumley, the love of his life in 1972 — a wonderful marriage that lasted for 44 years until her death in 2016. Pop began a well-deserved retirement in 1989, at the age of 59, having essentially worked non-stop for the previous 52 years of his life. In his later years, he traveled with Helen, constantly worked at landscaping and gardening his well manicured lawn, and provided sage advice to family, friends, pastors and any and all others who were interested. His message was firm and consistent, work hard, and handle your responsibilities, as he did himself, throughout his long and productive life. He will never be forgotten.

Pop is survived by his three sons, William Harvey Pruitt (Dana) of Lexington, Danny Wayne Pruitt (Rhonda) of Wichita Falls, Texas, and David Lee Pruitt (Paula) of Chapel Hill; and two grandsons, Zachary David Pruitt (Natalie) and Matthew Benjamin Pruitt.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 8, at Andrews Hampstead Chapel with the Rev. Stephen Dupree officiating. Interment will follow in Sea Lawn Memorial Park.

The family wishes to extend a very heartfelt “thank you” to Pop’s caregivers, in particular, to Kim Mitchell, R.N., whose care and companionship was irreplaceable in the latter days of his life. The family also wishes to thank and recognize Dana Pruitt, and the entire staff at Liberty Hospice Services especially Kay Loflin, R.N.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made online or by mail to Liberty Hospice Services, 2550 S. 41st St., Wilmington, NC 28403.

Share online condolences with the family at Andrews Mortuary & Crematory.

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