Deceased December 11, 2011

View alumni profile  (Log-in required)

Read Obituary


In Memory

After a long illness Roger Sherman Pratt died at his home in Woodbury, CT on December 11, 2011. Roger was born and raised in New York City and spent summers and school vacations in New Milford, CT, Martha's Vineyard and his family's fishing camp in New Brunswick, Canada. He came to Amherst from The Putney School.


Roger was a scion of a family that had left a major mark on Amherst in the names of several buildings and facilities. Although it was natural for him to come to Amherst, he did not take his connection as part of his birthright. He was always modest about his family. His parents had divorced, and he was close to his mother, Trude Lash, a prominent activist on behalf of children's welfare organizations and human rights issues, and stepfather, Joe Lash, a well-known liberal journalist.

Roger's diverse interests reflected the two parts of his family. Like his father, he had a love of the outdoors, particularly for fly-fishing. And from his grandfather George Dupont Pratt (Amherst class of 1893) he inherited considerable athletic ability, which he applied to skiing at Putney and to squash at Amherst, which he played with elegance and competitive success, ultimately as co-captain of the squash team.

From his mother and stepfather he developed a strong social conscience and a highly discerning esthetic appreciation. I remember very clearly the care and insight he put into a term paper on the slow movements of the later Mozart piano concertos. He was deeply touched by those great works. It was also his esthetic appreciation that directed him toward becoming an architect. He was an English major, but started taking architecture- related courses at Smith in his junior year. From the start, his designs showed the same creativity and precision that characterized all his work at Amherst. He prepared for his profession at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Architecture.

We lost touch with each other after Amherst. I was glad to read in the very nice piece he prepared for the 50th reunion book. He described his successful and satisfying career as an architect, first in Philadelphia and later in Western Connecticut. He mentioned with obvious pride his family: two daughters from his first marriage and their five children as well as three sons   from his second marriage to Ann Nevel. He noted how much he enjoyed walking on the woodland trails near his 1800's house in Woodbury.

Roger shunned most reunions, but he did show up for his 50th at Putney in 2006 where we had a nice conversation about the design features of the recent buildings at the school. He and Adam Sonnenschein, his roommate for three years, spent a long afternoon and dinner catching up at our Amherst 45th. Even though his illness was just beginning to be apparent, Adam and I were pleased to see that he was still the lively, generous and friendly person that we had known when he was at Amherst.

John Richardson & Adam Sonnenschein

1 commentLog in to post comments