Alton “Big Daddy” Robert Pritchard was born on April 8, 1947, in St. Louis’ Ville Neighborhood, to Mr. Alton and Mrs. Robbie Pritchard, thereby distinctively ending their run of girls as their first and only son.
Alton’s motto resonated in everything he did. Alton’s personal relationship with God established his strong sense of character to excel without concern for fear or failure. During his early years, Alton was a Boy Scout and enjoyed reading and watching westerns and adventurous tales about Black cowboys. He received his education from the St. Louis Public Schools, including the historical Sumner High School. Although Alton did not complete his Sumner degree, knowledge was an important power he used to grow into the man he was to become.
In 1968, Alton and his loving and devoted wife Eileen Henley started their family. Together they raised three remarkable children, all of whom are college graduates. To support his family initially, Alton did a number of miscellaneous jobs before completing his ninety (90) day training with General Motors Corporation (GM) at the St. Louis, Missouri Plant located on Union Boulevard. For thirty years, Alton expanded his knowledge and skillsets with GM. He was adept at assembling key auto parts, body paint, and running heavy equipment.
During GM’s five-year shut down of the Union Boulevard Plant while a new plant was being constructed in Wentzville, MO; Alton used his warrior-like fortitude to drive past challenges and obstacles to apply other enterprising resources to take care of his family during this lean waiting period. Alton strengthened his work ethic by painting, doing lawn work, and excelling at auto mechanic repairs. His initiative led to an opportunity to retool his knowledge by completing several auto mechanic certifications. He would often reference his mechanic books to determine the precise tuning and timing for specific engine makes and models to ensure each vehicle was up and running.
At the Wentzville Plant, Alton became a relentless advocate for Civil Rights and improving the solidarity of its UAW Local 2250 Region 5 Union members. In 1992, 1995 and 1998, he was respectively celebrated for his contributions to the Union.. In addition, he was overwhelmingly elected as UAW’s Local 2250 Sergeant-at-Arms for nine consecutive years during which he respectfully became known as “Big Daddy”. After an exemplary thirty (30) years of service, Big Daddy retired from GM in November 1999.
As a Chevrolet car enthusiast, Big Daddy could be seen in his spare time escorting his youngest daughter to prom in his '57 Chevy or escorting his oldest daughter in his '56 Bel Air to her MO S&T Alumni Meetings or with his son sporting his classics at the Horseless Carriage Easter Car Show in Forest Park. Other hobbies included traveling, photography and competitive card games such as tunk, or spades for which he took all prisoners without mercy; just ask his oldest granddaughter. Fishing was also a treasured pastime which required his special mix of stink bait. However, his all-time passion was his variety of creative art expressions. Alton’s drawing talents were first encouraged when his Mother Robbie showed him how to sketch horses at a young age. Alton continued to develop his talent by drawing portraits of coworkers, wall murals, and a myriad of signs for GM and special occasions. Then, initiated by a simple paint set gift, Big Daddy created masterpieces of artistic expressions such as elaborate colorful paintings, hats, and apparel immersed with his famous meticulous dot patterns.
During Alton’s last days, he valiantly fought the Good Fight, while each of his three children joined forces to honor their father using God’s strongest weapon, LOVE while caring for him in his home until his last breath. Alton will be remembered charismatically standing at six foot six inches tall, with his commanding deep baritone voice, in his exceptionally sharp attire which frequently generated comments such as “you are dressed cleaner than the Board of Health”. We will remember Big Daddy’s big-hearted soul who valued ownership through hard work, family legacy and living out his motto GOD is LOVE, Knowledge is Power, and Kindness costs Nothing!
Alton’s parents and his three sisters Bobbette Caesar, Mary Hye, and Suzanne Pritchard preceded him in death. Alton leaves to cherish his memory his three children, LaWanda (LeRoye) Jones, Robert (Angela) Pritchard, April Pritchard; eleven grandchildren Sydney Pritchard, Maya Jones, Isaiah Jones, Henley Pritchard, Charley Belle Pritchard, Grace Pritchard, Robert Alton Pritchard II, Kayla King, Nyla Brown, Shyroyce Jones, LeRoyce Jones; his companion Maria Dudley; three nieces Marcia Pritchard (son JiRaun), Cheryl (Joseph) Beslow (children Jerome, Joseph Jr., Jason, Ebony, Crystal, Samuel, Tiffany, and Joy), Mary Suzy Hye (children Charles, Mary, and Michael); and two nephews Leonard Norton (children Jarett, Kyle, and Korey) and Roland Norton (children Shantell and Brandon); along with a host of loving cousins and friends.
Big Daddy, Rest in Peace and know that you will truly be missed by many.
Home going Arrangements
Friday, March 27, 2020 2pm – 5:30pm
Ozella J Foster Funeral Home
3619 Finney Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63113
Memorial Mass (private ceremony)
Saturday, March 28, 2020 10:00 am
St. Alphonsus Liguori ‘Rock’ Catholic Church
1118 North Grand Boulevard
St. Louis, Missouri 63106
*viewing will be phased for ten (10) individuals at a time