Joseph was the first born son to Margaret Pruett and Joseph Martin Hart of rural Harrisburg. He grew up on the family farm and attended Harrisburg Public Schools. While in school he joined the Boy Scouts of America under the Lone Scout Plan whereby he received instruction at home. He excelled in school and was a talented member of the band playing Baritone Horn. He also performed well at solo contest.
After high school he attended Rose Polytechnic University (later named Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology) in Terre Haute, Indiana where he pursued a mechanical engineering degree. JP made many trips back to Harrisburg on weekends on his “Indian Four” motorcycle. In June of 1945 he took a break from his studies to enlist in the United States Army. He spent most of his time in the western United States as a “phototopographer” charting maps. He received an Honorable Discharge in October, 1946, and returned to Rose Poly as a WWII veteran.
Back in Kindergarten he met Norma Lee Lindenmuth. After years of performing music together, they were married on December 25, Christmas Day, at the Hart farm in 1949.
After his graduation from Terre Haute, the young couple moved to Memphis, TN where Pruett worked as a design engineer at International Harvester until his father passed away. At that time they returned to Harrisburg to take over the family farm.
JP used his mechanical skills to refurbish used farm equipment during the winter months. Around 1963 he purchased an Allis Chalmers D21 tractor – the largest in southern Illinois at the time.
Norma and JP lived in a house on S. Mill St., now the site of Eastside School. It was there that they started their family. Georgia Lee was born in November, 1953, and John Pruett in December the next year.
JP had a great passion for the farm. He took such delight when cultivating with his 1947 International, to get off after every few rounds, and dig into the bean row with his pocket knife, to see how the little guy was doing – as it forced its way up through the crusty topsoil. In recent years he said he planted 63 crops.
Family was important to JP, and as the years passed he welcomed John’s wife, Janet to the family, and in December, 1976, Georgia’s husband, Alan. John and Janet continue to live on the farm and have a daughter, Maggie. Maggie lives with her husband Jose Ray, in Savannah, GA. John continues to operate Harts Music Center in Harrisburg, and both he and Janet are involved with local theatre productions with sound and costumes. Georgia and Alan have two daughters, Tricia and Melinda. Tricia married Dr. Ben Solomon and have four children – Isaac, Luke, Maggie and Michael. Melinda has two children, Aidan and Audrey Bleeker, and recently married Asterio Bulatao, with children, Max and Maddy. Together they now have a one year old – “little Joe”. So, JP has 2 children, 3 granddaughters, and 9 great grandchildren.
Pruett was a man of tremendous faith. His one true passion was his love for God and his desire to serve God faithfully. Like his father before him, JP was a member of the Harrisburg Masonic Lodge. He was also a member of the First United Methodist Church in Harrisburg.
JP has been known by many names – Tubby, Chub, Dad, JP, Joe, Joseph, Pruett, Pepa, Grandpa and Pops. After Norma passed in 2014, he experienced some failing health and is now ready to join Norma and his Father in Heaven. His wisdom and friendship will be sadly missed by family and friends. We have all been blessed by his wisdom, teachings and love for family. May he now rest in peace, knowing that he has lived the good life and done all he could for his family.
JP is survived by a younger brother, Dr. William Robert Hart (Liz) of Grove City, PA., and the family mentioned above.
Private services will be held. Condolences for the family may be left on his obituary page at www.reedfuneralchapel.com.
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