Howard Prichard, laboratory chemist, leader in his church

Howard E. Prichard
Howard E. Prichard
Posted: July 29, 2013

In the mountains of Italy during World War II, U.S. troops fought, as they would 70 years later in Afghanistan, with the help of pack mules.

For that, Howard E. Prichard had been trained in the mountains of Colorado with a pack mule section of an Army field artillery battalion.

He didn't need that training when his unit helped recapture the deserted Aleutian island of Kiska in 1943, but he did as his mules carried howitzer parts in the campaign from Rome to the River Arno in 1944.

On Monday, July 22, Mr. Prichard, 90, a former laboratory chemist and active churchman, died at Wiley Christian Retirement Community in Marlton, where he had lived since 2006.

Besides caring for mules during combat in Italy, Mr. Prichard worked as an Army translator in Germany in 1945, relying on his two years of high school language study.

Mr. Prichard had graduated from Audubon High School in 1939 and from Camden County Vocational School in 1942. A yearbook states that he studied industrial chemistry at the vocational school and was on the football and basketball teams.

After the war, he used the GI bill to study chemistry at Temple University, before beginning a decades-long career with the energy supplier Public Service Electric & Gas Co.

But his family and church responsibilities kept him from earning his bachelor's degree, daughter Ruthann Lightcap said in a phone interview.

Especially his church work, she said.

"He was one of the original school board members" at what is now Baptist Regional School, the college prep school in Haddon Heights founded in 1972, she said.

At Haddon Heights Baptist Church, he was a member of the deacon board, which, she said, helped set the direction for the congregation.

"Many Sunday dinners were put off" until such a meeting ended, she said. "A roast could burn in the oven while we were waiting for that to get done."

He was also a member of a ministry to a detention home for juveniles, and "on Sundays he would go and have a Bible study for the boys."

At Haddon Heights Baptist, he played saxophone in the church orchestra at Christmas and Easter concerts, she said, "and usually on Sunday nights every couple months." He was a Sunday school and Bible study teacher there.

Mr. Prichard worked for Public Service until 1972, was a chemist for DuPont Co.'s Repauno Chemical Co. until 1980, and retired from Metec Metal Powders near Hammonton in 1988, she said.

After moving to the Wiley community in 2006, she said, he played saxophone at monthly concerts and taught weekly Bible study classes there.

Besides his daughter, Mr. Prichard is survived by son John, daughter Priscilla Bier, a brother, two sisters, 11 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. His wife, Priscilla, died in 2006.

A viewing was set from 9 a.m. Monday, July 29, at the Wiley Church, 99 E. Main St., Marlton, before a 10 a.m. funeral service, with private interment.

Donations may be made to Baptist Regional School, 300 Station Ave., Haddon Heighs, N.J. 08035.

Condolences may be offered to the family at

Contact Walter F. Naedele at 610-313-8134, or follow on Twitter @WNaedele.

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