John Willie Pruitt, Jr., lovingly called “Sonny” by his family and friends, was born November 1944 in Sapulpa, OK., to Dorothy Jane and John Willie Pruitt Sr. John was the second born of seven children. He passed away peacefully at his home on September 29, 2023, in Seattle, WA. John was baptized and raised at his “family church,” Calvary Baptist.
John attended Booker T. Washington High School and graduated in 1962. At the age of 17, John left the small town of Sapulpa, and his close-knit family to join the Army. He served in the Pacific Northwest, stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington State and in Alaska, eventually choosing Seattle as his home.
John’s adventurous and entrepreneurial spirit is evident in his early pursuits in computer technology, construction, and real estate. It was at his tech position with Associated Grocers where he met his wife, Mary Pruitt. John branched into paint manufacturing, establishing BEST Paint Co., where he produced one of the earliest low-toxicity interior paints available. John was a trailblazer as the first African-American paint manufacturer in Washington State and served as a model for young entrepreneurs.
A veteran and entrepreneur, John volunteered with the African American Veterans Association and the National Association for Black Veterans (NABVETS) to assist veterans in accessing much-needed medical benefits during retirement. John was deeply passionate about studying U.S. History, focusing on the Civil War and the Jim Crow Era in the South. His dedication extended to understanding and teaching others the intricate connections between the past and the present, focusing on the importance of uncovering and comprehending African-American history. He was active politically and canvased for the presidential campaigns of both Jesse Jackson in 1988 and Barack Obama in 2008.
John delighted in giving tours of Seattle to visitors, taking them to iconic spots like the Troll under the Fremont Bridge for photos, 3 Girls Bakery in Pikes Place Market for delectable brownies, the Vietnamese sandwich shop in the Central District for exquisite liver pate, Ivar’s on the waterfront for Fish and Chips, and his personal favorite: Toshio’s for Teriyaki. His sharp wit and infectious sense of humor kept friends and family on their toes, ensuring that laughter was a constant presence.
Receiving him at heavens gate are his son; Steven Pruitt, Parents Dorothy and John Pruitt Sr. 2-brothers Marshall Pruitt, Mike Barnett 2-sisters Doretha Meeks, Beola Pruitt, deceased wife Maddie Pruitt (Steven’s mother)
He leaves behind his wife, Mary Pruitt; his daughters Angela Pruitt (Scott Magin), LaVonne Riggs (Michael Riggs), Ciara Gulley (Keitron Gulley); eight grandchildren, Antonio Pruitt, Jordan Riggs (Kerry Riggs), John Riggs, Jasmine Riggs, Miles Magin, Maddox Gulley, Kaleb Gulley, Justice Gulley; three great-grandchildren; sisters Sandra Brooks (Jeff Brooks), Arzellar Pruitt, Mildred Robinson, Johnnie Mae, Joann, Martha Ann, Janice, Loretta, Earnestine, brothers Willie John, Arthur Lee 1-aunt Etta Pruitt & dear to his heart which he called his own Ronald Pierson host of nieces, nephews and many whom he loved and considered grandchildren and family.
Visitation will be held on Friday, October 6th at Butler-Stumpff & Dyer Funeral Home from 3pm-7pm.
Services are scheduled for Saturday, October 7th at Calvary Baptist Church in Sapulpa, Oklahoma at 2pm.
Burial will follow at North Heights Cemetery in Sapulpa, Oklahoma.
- Date & Time: October 07, 2023 (2:00 PM)
- Venue: Calvary Baptist Church