Remembering Gerry Pratt

We are saddened to share the news that Gerry Pratt – the last trustee named in Fred G. Meyer’s will establishing a charitable trust from his personal estate – died last week. He was 88.

The last living member, and longest serving, of Meyer Memorial Trust’s original trustees, Gerry passed away on Friday. Few details are available at this point in time, but his daughter, Barbara Blackhurst, says that his passing was peaceful.

Born in 1927, Gerry’s career carried him through years as an Oregonian reporter and foreign correspondent, as a contributor to the public radio program “All Things Considered,” as host of the television program “Town Hall,” and as a columnist for the Community Press, a Portland newspaper. He went on to work in leadership roles in Fred Meyer’s enterprise, including as head of the Fred Meyer Savings and Loan, and served as a Meyer trustee over three decades. He could be depended on to answer the question, “What would Fred Meyer do?”

A published author, Gerry once described the role of philanthropy this way:

“There is very little the Trust can do to shape society, but it can sometimes point the way by lighting up neglected corners of need. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of making only safe grants, but that really negates the purpose of a foundation. What we do is like a flashlight in a dark room. We can help find the light switch. We are successful when we do that, not by adding light to an already bright room.”

Those who knew Gerry recalled his enormous contribution to Fred Meyer’s legacy and his deep connection with his mentor, boss and friend of many years.

“Gerry was extremely close to Fred Meyer, so we have lost our strongest connection to our founder but we were fortunate to have his steady hand and influence over the Meyer Trust for so many years,” said Doug Stamm, Meyer’s chief executive officer.

A funeral mass will be held for Gerry at 11 a.m. on Monday, July 18, at St. Mary’s Cathedral, 1716 NW Davis Street, in Portland.