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Celebrating the Life of a Grand River Lady

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Old 09-30-2011, 05:48 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: On the "Beautiful Ohio" at New Albany, Indiana, opposite Louisville, Kentucky
Posts: 2,078
Default Celebrating the Life of a Grand River Lady

Family and friends gathered this beautiful, cool and sunny September morning at Christ United Methodist Church in Louisville to pay tribute in word and music to Helen Hughes Prater, widely known and much loved by scores of river people and others whose lives were touched by this remarkable lady. As people assembled in the sanctuary, a continuous slide show of fascinating images taken throughout Miss Helen's 98 year life (expertly arranged by Jerry Sutphin) was projected onto a screen as a recording played of Miss Helen at the piano.

The service opened with a welcome by Richard Prater, followed by a pipe organ prelude of "Shall We Gather at the River", an arrangement of the Robert Lowry hymn by Dr. Albin Whitworth. Dick, his sister, Lil, and four other members of the Prater family gave brief, humorous and poignant eulogies, as did Jerry Sutphin, Keith Norrington and Travis Vasconcelos. A trio of Prater family members (Lil, Amy and Joe) beautifully sang "In the Garden" (Miss Helen's favorite hymn) ably accompanied by Nancy Prater on the piano. The congregation joined in singing on the final stanza. A CD selection, "I asked the Lord", performed by "Gloryland" (a men's choral group of which Dick is a member) was played at the conclusion of his remarks.

The service closed, appropriately, with Travis playing a calliope style rendition of "Goodbye Little Girl Goodbye" on the organ's flute stops, followed by the ringing of the roof bell for departure and a final whistle salute recorded aboard the Str. DELTA QUEEN.

After the service concluded at the church, most everyone made the short trek down the street to the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, where Miss Helen's ashes were interred next to those of her husband, Col. B.E. Prater, who passed away in 1988. Grandson Mark Prater offered closing remarks and a beautiful prayer.

Our beloved Miss Helen was certainly given a well deserved and glorious "send off" today. It truly was a celebration of her long and fruitful life. May she rest in peace and eternal glory.
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