The Daily Star
---- — Helen Pratt Vertucci
NORTH CHILI — Helen (Pratt) Vertucci, 99, formerly of Richfield Springs, passed away peacefully on Monday morning, Aug. 19, 2013, at Westwood Commons, North Chili.
She was born on April 21, 1914, in the Town of Warren, the daughter of Herbert and Olive (Sweet) VanValkenburg.
A lifelong resident of Richfield Springs, she was a 1932 graduate of Richfield Springs Central Schools. She completed and received her RN certification at Amsterdam City Hospital in 1935.
In 1936, she married Herman H. Pratt of Richfield Springs, a union that lasted 31 years until his passing on Feb. 21, 1967. She later married Anthony Vertucci of Richfield Springs on May 22, 1982. He preceded her in death on Feb. 25, 2000.
Helen’s nursing career began with home nursing and then private duty nursing at Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown. In the early 1950’s, she was invited to take the vacant school nurse position by then RSCS Principal George Purple. To acquire her nurse-teacher certification she spent several summers studying at Syracuse University and Oneonta State. In addition to school nurse duties, she also served as an Otsego County Public Health Nurse during summers off from school. As a school nurse, she was instrumental in convincing the public to partake in the polio vaccination program. She and the late Dr. Wendell Bryce administered the vaccines.
Helen was also at the forefront of a fluoridation controversy regarding the village water supply in the late 1950s. She retired from RSCS in 1974.
She was devoted to her community as exhibited by her participation in many clubs and organizations. She was a life member of the Warren Grange and Ganowages chapter of the DAR. She was a Brownie/Girl Scout leader and a Cub Scout leader and supporter of the Boy Scouts of America and a volunteer with the Red Cross during World War II.
Helen was the oldest member of Church of Christ Uniting of Richfield Springs. She was also active in the local garden club for many years, a member of the Canadarago Lake Association and the Richfield Springs Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary.
Surviving her are a daughter, Beverly Strother Pratt of Avon; one son, Kenneth Pratt and his wife, Barbara of Spencerport; two stepsons and their wives, Anthony and Jean Vertucci of Baldwinsville, Lawrence and Francis Vertucci of Syracuse; two stepdaughters, Anne Reilly and her husband, John of Ossining, Mary Ellen Edwardsen of Chittenango; five grandchildren; nine step-grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; seven step-great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews. She is also survived by special friend and caregiver, Anna Hosford.
Besides her parents and husbands, Herman and Anthony, Helen was predeceased by three sisters, Bernice Dunckel, Gladys Hamilton and Dorothy Dawson, two brothers, George and Wilber VanValkenburg, a son-in-law, William Strother and her grandson, Gregory Strother.
Calling hours for Helen will be 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday at J. Seaton McGrath Funeral Home; 40 West James St., Richfield Springs. Funeral services will be 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Church of Christ Uniting, Richfield Springs with the Rev. Mark Ioset, pastor, officiating. Interment will follow in Schuyler Lake Cemetery.
Expressions of sympathy may be made to the Church of Christ Uniting Organ Fund or the Richfield Springs Public Library. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home.