H. Wayne Pruett, longtime resident of Sonoita, passed away on Thursday, Oct.
22, 2020. Wayne Pruett was born in Raton, New Mexico, on June 10, 1942, to Ben and Mary Pruett. Wayne was the fourth of five siblings: the oldest, JB, followed by twins Leonard and Lloyd and after them Wayne. The boys have a younger sister,
Lynette Lovitt. Wayne grew up on the TO Ranch in northern New Mexico, outside of Raton. He grew up working on the ranch, working cattle and playing basketball. After graduating high school in 1960, he earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, in 1964. At NMSU he met his wife, Barbara Handley. They were married on June 12, 1965.
After a brief career in land appraisal, he met Peter Wray of Scottsdale, Arizona, and together they started Pruett-Wray Cattle Company (later known as Victorio Land and Cattle Company). Pruett-Wray had ranches in southern Arizona, western New Mexico, Oregon, and Kansas. Wayne Pruett ran those ranches for Victorio Land and Cattle Company until 1986.
Their eldest daughter, Shannan, was born in Nov. 1966; their second daughter, Valerie, was born in January 1969; and their son, Russell, was born in January 1971.
Wayne and Barbara raised their children on various ranches in Arizona including the Heady-Ashburn Ranch (Patagonia), the Buenos Aires Ranch (Sasabe) and the Singing Valley Ranch (Sonoita). Wayne’s work took him to Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and
China as an agricultural consultant. As the cattle industry declined Wayne found himself working in real estate and construction until an accident in March 2001 left him paralyzed at the waist and below.
Wayne was simply “a good man, known by all,” whether in his home communities, in the cattle industry, or by family and friends. He was always friendly and knowledgeable and had an adventure for anyone who came to visit.
Wayne was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara (July 2010), but is survived by his brothers; JB (and Libby), Leonard (and Mary Lynn) and Lloyd (and Annette); by his sister, Lynette (and Cloyd) Lovitt; and by his beloved friend, Eleanor Ortega. His
legacy lives on in his children Shannan (and Torey) Bell, Valerie (and Brady) Burleson, and Russell Pruett; and in his grandchildren Noah and Joshua Bell; Taylor, Cameron, and Amy Burleson; and Blake and Sheyanne Pruett.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Wayne and Barbara Pruett Memorial Scholarship. Wayne and Barbara Pruett were avid youth supporters and are continuing that tradition. Mail donations to: Santa Cruz County Jr. Livestock Association (Note: Wayne and Barbara Pruett Memorial Scholarship), P.O. Box 3247, Nogales, AZ 85628