Charles Lewis Prater was born February 25, 1930 at Beaumont General Hospital (later St. Therese). His parents were Narris Larkin Prater and Viola Ecles Prater. He spent much of his childhood in the Heights neighborhood of Houston, Texas. In 1948 he graduated from John H Reagan High School. Later that year he entered the Rice University engineering program and graduated in 1952 with a B.A. degree and in 1953 with a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering.
On July 27, 1951, Charles married Jane Raynelle Galbraith and their marriage lasted until her passing in 2014.
In 1953 Charles began his 40-year career at the Magnolia refinery in Beaumont (later Mobil Oil) as a Mechanical Engineer. He held positions of increasing responsibility, ultimately becoming Manager of Mechanical Engineering at the Beaumont refinery. During his career Charles was involved with many major projects including working as the designer and inventor of a ferris wheel device for coke reclamation, as well as the chief engineer on the Alkylation Unit expansion.
Charles was a long-time member of the First Baptist Church of Beaumont, where his grandparents met at the turn of the 20th Century. He was active in his Sunday School class and served on committees, including landscaping and grounds.
Charles was brought up working in his father’s machine shop and was extremely gifted in machine design as well as repair of automobiles and home appliances. He was also involved in building and remodeling projects in his homes, doing much of the design and construction himself.
Charles was an excellent photographer and documented his travels and family events with extensive photo albums and videos. A few years ago he put together his memoirs which were punctuated with his photographs.
Charles was particularly devoted to his family, including his two daughters and three grandchildren, and encouraged all of them in their educational and professional endeavors. He frequently put his family’s needs ahead of his own. He has always encouraged them to commit their lives to Christ and to live for Him.
Survivors include his two daughters, Penny Prater of the Woodlands; Robin Kret and her husband, Geoffrey Kret, of Beaumont; his three grandchildren, Ehren Kret of Austin; Branden Kret, MD and his wife, Becca Kret, of Abilene; and Courtney Kret, PharmD and her fiancée, Ben Steimel, of Albany, New York.
He is also survived by his sister Norma Vickers and her husband, Dale; nephews, Kelly Prater, Russell Hall; and niece, Lauren Marchese.
Charles leaves a parting message to all of his friends and loved ones: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and Thou shalt be saved, and thy house (Acts16:31). He will see fellow believers in Heaven.
A gathering of Mr. Prater’s family and friends will be from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., Saturday, July 16, 2022, at Broussard’s, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont. His graveside service will be at 2:00 p.m., Monday, July 18, 2022, at Rosewood Memorial Park, 2602 South Houston Avenue, Humble.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the National Kidney Foundation,
30 East 33rd Street, New York, New York 10016.
Complete and updated information can be found at: broussards1889.com
Published by Beaumont Enterprise from Jul. 13 to Jul. 14, 2022.