Charles Lewis Prater

February 25, 1930 - July 4, 2022

Charles Lewis Prater was born February 25, 1930 at Beaumont General Hospital (later St. Therese).  His parents were Narris Larkin Prater and Viola Ecles Prater. He spent much of his childhood in the Heights neighborhood of Houston, Texas. In 1948 he graduated from John H Reagan High School. Later that year he entered the Rice University engineering program and graduated in 1952 with a B.A. degree and in 1953 with a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering.

On July 27, 1951, Charles married Jane Raynelle Galbraith and their marriage lasted until her passing in 2014.

In 1953 Charles began his 40-year career at the Magnolia refinery in Beaumont (later Mobil Oil) as a Mechanical Engineer. He held positions of increasing responsibility, ultimately becoming Manager of Mechanical Engineering at the Beaumont refinery. During his career Charles was involved with many major projects including working as the designer and inventor of a ferris wheel device for coke reclamation, as well as the chief engineer on the Alkylation Unit expansion.

Charles was a long-time member of the First Baptist Church of Beaumont, where his grandparents met at the turn of the 20th Century. He was active in his Sunday School class and served on committees, including landscaping and grounds.

Charles was brought up working in his father’s machine shop and was extremely gifted in machine design as well as repair of automobiles and home appliances. He was also involved in building and remodeling projects in his homes, doing much of the design and construction himself.

Charles was an excellent photographer and documented his travels and family events with extensive photo albums and videos. A few years ago he put together his memoirs which were punctuated with his photographs.

Charles was particularly devoted to his family, including his two daughters and three grandchildren, and encouraged all of them in their educational and professional endeavors. He frequently put his family’s needs ahead of his own. He has always encouraged them to commit their lives to Christ and to live for Him.

Survivors include his two daughters, Penny Prater of the Woodlands; Robin Kret and her husband, Geoffrey Kret, of Beaumont; his three grandchildren, Ehren Kret of Austin; Branden Kret, MD and his wife, Becca Kret, of Abilene; and Courtney Kret, PharmD and her fiancée, Ben Steimel, of Albany, New York.

He is also survived by his sister Norma Vickers and her husband, Dale; nephews, Kelly Prater, Russell Hall; and niece, Lauren Marchese.

Charles leaves a parting message to all of his friends and loved ones: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and Thou shalt be saved, and thy house (Acts16:31). He will see fellow believers in Heaven.

A gathering of Mr. Prater’s family and friends will be from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., Saturday, July 16, 2022, at Broussard’s, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont. His graveside service will be at 2:00 p.m., Monday, July 18, 2022, at Rosewood Memorial Park, 2602 South Houston Avenue, Humble.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the National Kidney Foundation, 30 East 33rd Street, New York, New York 10016.


Download Program

Gathering of Family and Friends

Broussard’s Mortuary Major Dr.
  • 1605, North Major Drive, Beaumont, Texas, 77713,
  • July 16, 2022
  • 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Graveside Service

Broussard’s Mortuary Major Dr.
  • 1605, North Major Drive, Beaumont, Texas, 77713,
  • July 18, 2022
  • 2:00 pm

Comments (14)

    Richard Payne says:

    Sorry to hear of his passing. I worked in his department (Mechanical Engineering) many years ago at Mobil. Charles was a great engineer & good role model for the younger engineers. Last dealings I had with Charles was on the Beaumont Expansion Project in the early 1990s. I transferred to Research & Engineering and lost track. I’m glad that he had a long, healthy retirement.

    Penny+L+Prater says:

    Thank you, Richard! We appreciate it!

    Dr. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs says:

    Dear Penny and Robin,
    Your brilliant father was blessed with a wonderful life. He shared his many graces and talents with his loving wife, yourselves, and three grandchildren. Now he is with Jesus in Heaven. May God have mercy on his soul and console you all.

    Penny L Prater says:

    Dr. Shelley-Thank you so much for your thoughtful words and for coming out to Rosewood! We really appreciated it!

    Jo-Ann Jacobson says:

    We are so sorry for the family’s loss. We love your daughter Penny. Amazingly Penny looks so much like her Dad.
    Jo-Ann Jacobson

    Penny Prater says:

    Jo-Ann- thank you for your kind comments. I appreciate your support!


    Connie Webster says:

    Robin we are so sorry for the loss of your dad. You were the best daughter to give him so much love and unselfish time in his last years of life. Know he is in heaven, with your mom, smiling and watching your family. May he Rest In Peace and God bless you and the family.
    William & Connie Webster
    Rockwall, TX

    Robin Kret says:

    Thank you for the kind words of sympathy and caring.

    Emeline Auzenne says:

    May you find comfort and peace in your memories of your dad. I will keep you all in prayer. May he rest in peace.

    Emeline Auzenne

    Penny L Prater says:

    I appreciate that, Emeline!

    Linda H. Bauer says:

    May we all experience his joy of the Lord when the soon return of Jesus calls us home also.

    Penny L Prater says:


    David W Hearn III says:

    I am sorry for your loss and will pray for this family.

    Dave Hearn

    Penny L Prater says:

    Thank you, David!

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