Remembering Catherine ‘Shang’ Bradwell Pratt
Fort Lauderdale pioneer and longtime educator Catherine “Shang” Bradwell Pratt, 95, peacefully transitioned to her heavenly home on Friday, May 11, 2018. Catherine was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on September 17, 1922. She was the beloved daughter of proud parents, John and Henrietta Bradwell. Catherine was reared in a Christian home, where she learned to have faith in a higher power at an early age. She believed that Jesus Christ died for her sins and, as she matured, made Jesus the center of her life.
Catherine joined Mt. Hermon AME Church in Fort Lauderdale at the tender age of 12, when the Reverend George Collins was pastor. She grew up serving Mt. Hermon AME and was active in the youth church. She attended Sunday school and the League, where she learned the Lord’s Prayer and many hymns, as well as the Ten Commandments and Beatitudes through the use of the Catechism. Catherine enjoyed singing “What’s a Friend We Have in Jesus” and learned to recite the Apostles’ Creed. Catherine joined Fort Lauderdale’s Harris Chapel United Methodist Church in 1992, where she eagerly involved herself in church activities as a new member and was appointed chairperson of the Higher Education Committee.
Catherine matriculated through Broward County Schools, graduating from Fort Lauderdale’s Dillard High School with the class of 1941. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education from the Tuskegee Institute and Master’s Degree in Guidance Counseling from Indiana University. Catherine’s goal was to serve her area community, so she worked at Florida’s Lanier Junior High in Hallandale, Wingate Junior High and Everglades Middle (now William Dandy Middle School), both in Fort Lauderdale. She also served as a guidance counselor at Plantation High School.
Catherine retired in 1985; however, after one year, she re-entered the workforce to serve as a BRACE Advisor at Dillard High School. She said, “This particular job gave me a little more latitude to truly conference with students regarding getting serious about life.” Catherine enjoyed working as a BRACE Advisor because she mentored college-bound students and helped them to secure scholarships and financial aid. She also worked with ACT, SAT; and career counseling for seven years. Catherine was passionate about her students’ success, fervently pushing them to achieve academic excellence. She retired from the Broward County School system after 43 years of dedicated service.
After retiring, Catherine, whose mind remained sharp and witty, was active in several local civic organizations, such as the Baccalaureate, YMCA, and Northwest Federated Women’s Club. One of Catherine’s fondest lifelong pastimes stemmed from her love of playing basketball while in high school. She was ardent sports fan and was particularly fond of the Miami Heat, Miami Dolphins and the University of Miami. The Miami Heat’s Chis Bosh and Dwyane Wade were her favorite players.
Catherine Bradwell was married to the late Charles William Pratt. And she could not have been prouder of her life’s sweetest blessing: her daughter, Shawn Pratt-Allen, current principal at Lloyd Estates Elementary School, whom she leaves to mourn her passing, along with a host of dear relatives, former students and devoted friends.
A wake will be held on Friday, May 18, from 5-8 p.m. at Harris Chapel United Methodist Church, 2351 NW 26th Street, Oakland Park, Florida. The homegoing service will be held on Saturday, May 19, 2018, at 11 a.m., also at Harris Chapel United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the H.W. Lewis Scholarship Fund at Harris Chapel United Methodist Church in the name of Catherine Pratt.
Arrangements under the direction of Roy Mizell and Kurtz Funeral Service, 1305 NW Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 33311; phone (954)467-3426.