Darlene Zschech - SHOUT TO THE LORD - Nina's request for her funeral

8 of Nina's favorite songs...
David Gates - Goodbye Girl (1978)
Edward Bear-Close your Eyes
Fleetwood Mac - Landslide
K-LOVE - Steven Curtis Chapman Long Way Home
Muppet Songs Gonzo - I'm Going to Go Back There Someday
My heart will go on - CÚline Dion
Tristan Prettyman - Say Anything
Vanessa Williams - Colors of the Wind (Pocahontas)

Nina Michelle Pratt
October 20, 1970 - March 16, 2022

Uncle Dave Kusel teasing Nina, October 1972, in Wichita, about a year before she lost her eyesight.

Nina's last guide dog - Haagen Dazs August 2005

Nina Michelle Pratt, 51, of Boone, Iowa, passed away on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, in Boone.
Daughter of Dan and Angela (Kusel) Pratt (both 1965 MHS graduates), and granddaughter of Ray and Helen (McGrath) Pratt & Amos & Dorothy (Ehrichs) Kusel.
Visitation with the family present to greet friends March 21, 2022, 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM, Trinity Lutheran Church 712 12th Street, Boone, Iowa
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, March 21, 2022 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Boone, with Rev. Max Phillips officiating.
Burial will be at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 at Nishnabotna Cemetery in Manilla, Iowa, with Pastor Jonathan Conner officiating.
The funeral service will be live-streamed on the Schroeder-Stark-Welin Funeral Home Facebook page, which can be accessed at: https://www.facebook.com/SchroederStarkWelin
Online condolences can be left at https://www.schroederfuneral.com/obituaries/Nina-Pratt/#!/Obituary

Nina Michelle Pratt was born on October 20, 1970, in Carroll, Iowa, to Dan and Angela (Kusel) Pratt, and then moved shortly to Manhattan, Kansas, where her father was stationed at Fort Riley. In 1972, the family moved to Wichita, Kansas, where Nina attended school and graduated from West High School in 1989.

At the age of 3 Nina suddenly lost her sight due to a cancerous tumor on the optic chiasm. Following extensive treatment at M.D. Anderson in Houston, Texas, she returned home to continue treatment for 2 years. Declared cancer-free, she attended a preschool for the blind in Wichita until school age, at which point she was integrated fully into regular classes until her graduation. Following graduation, she attended Iowa State University, majoring in French. Later she moved to Missoula, Montana, and attended the university there. For the past 20+ years, Nina has lived in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. She has lived independently for the past 30 years with the help of 3 wonderful guide dogs: Joli, Rosie, and Haagen-Dazs.

Nina participated in Girl Scouts throughout her school years, selling hundreds of boxes of cookies, attending Scout camp, and taking several memorable Scout trips to Kansas City and Galveston, Texas. She loved to read and used both Braille and audiobooks to do so. She also participated in BOLD, a snow-skiing program for blind persons, as well as SKAVI camp in Dodge City, Kansas, for visually impaired children.

Nina was an avid music lover, playing violin during her school years, and was currently learning to play the harp. For her 51st birthday, her parents purchased a full-size harp for her. She also loved to travel, and during high school traveled with other foreign language students from across the United States to visit Spain, France, and England. During the past 3 years, Nina and her mother took 2 mother-daughter trips to visit all of the homes of Laurel Ingalls Wilder.

Nina also volunteered for a number of programs to assist others, including a hotline for those grieving over the loss of a pet (at Iowa State), and later helping adults who had recently lost vision through Vision Loss in Minneapolis. She had a great sense of humor, was a deep thinker about many topics, and was a masterful writer about her life experiences.

Nina was diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer in November 2021. She entered a hospice program in St. Paul, and at the end of January, moved to Boone to live with her parents. She passed away on March 16 at the age of 51 years, 4 months, 28 days.

Nina is survived by her parents Dan and Angela Pratt, and one brother, Sean Pratt, as well as her beloved cat Tucker.

She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Ray and Helen (McGrath) Pratt, and Amos and Dorothy (Ehrichs) Kusel.

Memorial donations can be made to the family and will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund since Nina was a lover of animals, and to the American Printing House for the Blind to assist with Braille materials for other blind persons.

Funeral services will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, March 21, 2022 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Boone, with Rev. Max Phillips officiating. Visitation will be before the funeral service from 9:00 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. Burial will be at Nishnabotna Cemetery in Manilla, Iowa at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, with Pastor Jonathan Conner officiating.

The funeral service will be live-streamed on the Schroeder-Stark-Welin Funeral Home Facebook page, which can be accessed at: https://www.facebook.com/SchroederStarkWelin

Online condolences can be left at Schroeder-Stark-Welin Funeral Home

I've been around Nina quite a bit of my life and never once ever felt sorry for her...That may seem insensitive but it is based on decades of showing my blind niece things here on the farm that she would normally never be exposed to in Witchita city life, and then observing her responses and her wanting to learn more. She never had the attitude that she couldn't do something or made excuses because she was blind.
One time, when she was a young teen, I was taking Nina and her brother for a walk along a soybean field and explaining aspects of agriculture, when I noticed several different weeds in the rows of beans. The first one was a milkweed so I broke the stem and had her "see" (touch) the sap and smell it which provided very good examples for her senses to gain a good understanding.
Then I pulled a leaf off another weed and asked her what it felt like and immediately she said "velvet" and I exclaimed "exactly" and told her the plant is called Velvetleaf, more commonly known as button weed...unfortunately no "button" seed pods had developed but I explained it to her and she understood.
Then I found a cocklebur plant and there were burs starting on them, but not yet with fully developed sharp spines. I gave her one and teased her and said this is a porcupine egg - she knew I was kidding but understood the analogy right away.
I also would give Nina and her brother rides on my pet sow, Linda...from what I understand, many/most young blind people are generally afraid of animals, especially the larger ones...not Nina - she had an uncle that just plopped her on the sow to ride on...Nina ended up really loving animals and was never scared of them.

Then I remember the summer when Angie and I took Nina to the outdoor pool in Manning. After some encouragement we got her to jump off the diving board...now this can be scary to a little kid who can see, but imagine what it would be like if you can't see and have no idea how far it was to the water surface.

When she was a little older I took Nina and Sean into the Rec Center. Now Nina couldn't play basketball, so I thought a little and then showed her some of the drills we did to train for basketball...the one thing she liked the most was the shuffle where you move sideways in a jumping mode, with your legs going apart and together...so we faced each other, holding hands, and then shuffled one way and then came back.

Nina attended regular high school in Wichita and also went to college. Now college may be daunting to most students but stop to think about having to care for your guide dog...and what do dogs do quite often - they throw up...well Nina had to carry paper towels to clean up the mess.

Then I'll never forget Nina telling me about the stranger in an airport who told her she had a "psychedelic dog" as he walked by.

Nina took everything in stride and I don't think she was ever intimidated by anyone.
She also didn't like political correctness about her being blind...She said "I'm blind, if I can say it so can you..." and continued "I'm physically challenged when I do sit-ups and mentally challenged when I work on chemistry."
Only once did I hear her complain around me and that was when she was visiting "grandma" here on the farm one summer...I would leave in the morning to go outside to do work on the farm and then trudge in at the end of the day and head right down to the basement where I live. Right before she left to go to her home, she gave me a good tongue lashing for not visiting with her much that week. Boy did she "open my eyes" to realize how even when I'm busy and tired I need to stop and visit with the people around me.

Nina has always been extra special to me, even before she was born. Her mother was around 8 months pregnant when our dad died and she was living in Manning at that time, while her husband was at boot camp, and mother didn't want Angie to be alone during this time, so I stayed with her for a while.

I believe my sister always wanted to be a teacher, but like all of us, things change in our lives and we end up doing things we never dreamed of.
Angie did become a teacher but a teacher at the Wichita School for the blind.
Dave Kusel

A blind girl is "seeing" Angela Pratt