Richard Gerald Prutting of Naples, Florida, a former Westport resident, died Aug. 13 after suffering a massive stroke while visiting Houston, Texas. He was 74.
He was born on Jan. 30, 1945 in Coral Gables Florida but spent most of his youth in Ellington, Connecticut before completing high school in Westport, where he was a major basketball player for state championship contending Staples High School. He spent one year at Georgetown University before pursuing a business career. Dick was also a member of the U.S. Naval Reserves, stationed in Glenview, Illinois.
After marrying, Dick and Margret moved to Danbury, where he operated a nearby vending business for many years. He coached many youth baseball teams including several state championship Babe Ruth League All Star teams. Though a fierce competitor, Dick had a light-hearted style and was a positive influence on many young men whom he coached.
After visiting friends several times in the area, Dick and Margret made the big move to Spinnaker Drive in Naples, where he supervised the building of their new home in which they lived very happily for 20-plus years.
Both became very involved with The Naples Beach Hotel where Dick taught tennis as well as coached competitive adult teams. He particularly enjoyed teaching youngsters and many fortunate young people visiting the Hotel benefited from his tutelage. Though hampered by a partial loss of vision in one eye, Dick took great pride in the fact he could place his forehand stroke ” anywhere anytime.”
Dick and Margret often visited Germany, Margret’s native country, with Dick absorbing that culture fully. Bringing a taste home to Naples for the benefit of his friends Dick would stage his annual “Oktoberest” celebration featuring German Beer and food; his beloved “Oompapah” music playing in the background.
He was a practicing real estate agent affiliated locally with Berkshire Hathaway home services. Dick was a loving and soft-hearted soul, a clever handyman, an impressive sandwich maker, big Miami Heat fan, and a gracious, generous sensitive caregiver and companion for many who had the good fortune to know and love him.
He was predeceased by his wife of 45 years Margret Goedereis Prutting, his mother and father, William C. and Geraldine O’Keefe Prutting as well as his older brother William John Prutting.
He is survived by his two brothers David and Stephen Prutting; their wives Deborah and Mara Prutting, his two stepsons Larry and Mark Thalmann and their wives Amy and Rebecca Thalmann, sister-in-law Jan Marie Pruttting, also five grandchildren, 10 nieces and nephews and many good friends and numerous admirers.
A Memorial Mass will be held on Friday, Aug. 23 at 2 p.m. at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Naples, Florida.
Donations can be made in his memory to “The SunShine Kids” charity which Dick supported for many years.