Community’s champion

Retired physician honored
with Madison Chamber award

Pratt dedicated his life to helping others
through his career and community work

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(March 2008) – In every community there are people who find the time to get involved in some type of community service. There are those who volunteer at hospitals, those who help veterans, those who sit on boards of directors, lead scout or church groups and those who help hand out food to the elderly. Rare is the person, however, who volunteers to do it all. Dr. Ralph Pratt, a Madison, Ind., native, is one of those rare people.

Dr. Ralph Pratt

Photo by Don Ward

Dr. Ralph Pratt was the recent
recipient of the Madison Area Chamber
of Commerce 2008 Jeff Garrett
Community Service Award at the
chamber’s Annual Dinner.

In January, Pratt was honored with the 2008 Jeff Garrett Community Service Award by the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce. “Pratt has given and done so many things for the community, I found myself in awe of him,” said Madison Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Galen Bremmer. “When you have a recipient for an award like him, it makes our job easy; we just hand out the plaque.”
“It was such a surprise and honor,” said Pratt, 87. “It really humbles you.”
After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Pratt spent eight years working before he decided to go to medical school. At age 29, he was accepted into the Indiana School of Medicine, where he graduated in 1955. He returned to Madison to start a general practice.
For 10 years, Pratt worked as a general practitioner. He also was the team physician for the Hanover College football program and ran a health clinic for the school. He realized, however, that his work in general practice would not leave him much time to spend with his family, so he decided to go back to medical school and study pathology.
“Back then, there were only five or six doctors working in Madison,” he said. “That was when we were always on call for the hospital, we delivered babies, and we even made house calls.”
For four years Pratt commuted to Louisville, Ky., to the University of Louisville Medical School. He worked in the evenings to run his general practice.
By 1970, Pratt joined a team of physicians who provided services to Madison’s King’s Daughters’ Hospital and Health Services and four other area hospitals. He became head of the Pathology Lab at King’s Daughters’ Hospital at that time and remained in that position until 1990. He was also the Jefferson County, Ind., coroner from 1968 to 1976, was an associate clinical professor at the University of Louisville Medical School for 19 years. He remained at King’s Daughters’ Hospital on staff for 30 years. He retired in 1990.

Madison Area Chamber
of Commerce
Award Winners

Prior winners
of the Community
Service Award:

2008 Dr. Ralph Pratt
2007 Bill Grote
2006 Robert Hughes
2005 Ron Marriage
2004 Margaret Seifert
2003 Tony Steinhardt
2002 Sue Livers
2001 Cliff Taylor
2000 Ann Grahn
1999 Jane Jacobs
1998 Mayor Al Huntington
1997 Phil Sherman
1996 Joe Craig
1995 Dave Adams
1994 Mary Ellen Munier
1993 Bob Glass
1992 Thomas Hambrick
1991 Donn Lorton
1990 Dr. Robert Zink
1989 Lena Storm
1988 Dotti Reindollar
1987 Dave Dionne
1986 Dianna Risk
1985 John Galvin
1984 Dr. Warren Rucker
1983 Don R. Wallis
1982 Donald Bear
1980 Dr. William Bear
1979 Dr. Marcella Modisett
1978 Lee Dowell
1977 Charles Cosby
1976 Mary Frances O'Connor
1975 Philip McCauley
1974 (No award given)
1973 Dr. Merritt O. Alcorn
1972 Ann Muessel
1971 Judge Harry Nichols
1970 Rev. S.M. Gaines
1969 Paul Scully
1968 E. Perin Scott
1967 Dr. Anna Goss Turner
1966 Richard J. Irwin
1965 Wiley M. Riedel
1964 John Windle
1963 Joseph Cooper
1962 Conner K. Salm
1961 George Metford
1960 E.O. Muncie
1959 John Lucht


Prior winners of
the Business
Service Award:

2008 Midwest Tube Mills Inc.
2007 Madison Courier
2006 Madison Chemical Co.
2005 Grote Industries
2004 Steinhardt Heating & Air Conditioning
2003 Madison Precision Products
2002 Cinergy/PSI
2000 River Valley Financial Bank
1999 King's Daughters' Hospital & Health Services
1998 Arvin Sango Inc.
1997 Sherman, Barber & Mullikin CPAs

No matter how busy he was in his professional and personal life, he always found the time to get involved in the community. He was a founding member of the Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County, and has been active in the Knights of Columbus for decades. The Knights of Columbus is a fraternal organization founded in 1886 for Catholic men. The organization also participates in patriotic endeavors.
“When I started my medical practice, I was healthy and young, so I wanted to be active in the community,” he said. “Once you get involved, you never get uninvolved.”
Pratt never stopped his love of learning either; at age 81 he earned an associate’s degree in computer science.
He became interested in computers after he bought his grandchildren one.
He then bought them another one and was given back the original one. He felt he needed to go to Ivy Tech Community College to take a course in computers.
“I thought I’d take a class, but then I took another and another, until finally someone told me I had earned enough credits for a degree.” Pratt also serves on the Ivy Tech Foundation board and the board of the Farmers Bank of Milton.
“I have always been optimistic and confident,” he said. “But I am sort of an introvert; I’ve had to push myself to keep involved.”
“Dr. Pratt is the finest human being I have ever met,” said bank president Neil Bryan. “He is kind, caring, concerned and just a top-quality person.”
When he was a kid, Pratt earned his Eagle Scout from the Boy Scouts. Later, when his sons got involved with scouting, he became an assistant leader. He got involved again later when his grandsons were ready for scouting.
But it doesn’t end there; Pratt is currently the chairman of the board of the Farmers Bank of Milton. In February, he traveled to Memphis, Tenn., for an investment banking conference. He went with Farmers Bank of Milton President Neil Bryan.
“Pratt is the finest human being I have ever met,” he said. “He is kind, caring, concerned and just a top-quality person.”
The board of directors at the bank helps set policy, works on behalf of stockholders and helps with strategic planning. “Pratt is a true visionary; he has helped us expand into new markets and products,” said Bryan. “He certainly hasn’t let chronological age get him down.”

Back to March 2008 Articles.



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