Margaret “Joy” Prater, age 89, passed away peacefully on Friday, October 21st, 2022, in Denver. She was born March 26, 1933, in Lakewood, Colorado, to Paul and Helen (Nicks) Morrow. Joy was a 1951 graduate of Mountair High School. She met her husband, Virgil Prater, while attending Business classes at University of Denver (DU). Joy and Virgil were married in 1953 and started their family soon thereafter. Once Joy’s children were in school, she embarked on a career in banking, which included twenty years with Colorado National Bank. Through her dedication and perseverance, she rose from secretary to president at Colorado National Bank in Lakewood, which at the time was a pioneering achievement for women in the industry. Joy was proud to be involved in her community of Lakewood, CO, and to pave the way for other women who came behind her in banking.
Joy retired in 1989, and in retirement, she and Virgil greatly enjoyed traveling through the Ports of Call Travel Club. They visited their daughter Denise in Papua, Indonesia where Denise’s husband Chuck worked as project engineering manager at an underground copper-gold mining complex. Joy and Virgil enjoyed hiking and square dancing in retirement as well. Joy was passionate about finances and fun, enjoying buying her grandchildren a new outfit for the first day of school or swimming in the Glenwood Hot Springs, a favorite getaway for the whole family. They spent many winters escaping the Colorado cold as snowbirds in Apache Junction, Arizona.
Born and raised in Denver, Joy was of course an avid Broncos fan. One of the major perks of her bank presidency were season tickets! She enjoyed spending weekends in the mountains, often packing up their small kids in the morning and grilling lunch while the kids played.
Joy became reacquainted with her high school classmate, Gail Matheny, after each had lost their spouse later in life. The two enjoyed socializing together and hiking, and spent fifteen years together, including more snowbirding winters in Arizona. They remained together until her dementia forced them to separate at the end of her life.
Joy was preceded in death by her husband, Virgil; parents, Paul and Helen; sister Virginia, brother Jim and brother Tommy; and twin sisters and great granddaughter Abigail who passed away as infants. She is survived by her partner, Gail; daughters Deborah Hayes and Denise (Chuck) Brannon, and son David Prater; grandchildren Michele (Phil) Rupprecht, Andrew (Tara) Brannon, Kurt (Brooke) Brannon, Rylee (Zach) Prater; and great-grandchildren Rock, Elle, Emma, Noah, Oren, Quinn and Annie Leigh.
Joy’s family will be hosting a Celebration of Life service in the Chapel at Cherry Hills Community Church on November 17th at 11:00 a.m. Please come join us and share in the memories, smiles, and reminiscing about Joy’s life and the wonderful legacy through her kids and grandkids and great-grandkids! Her love continues to flow through all of those she left behind.