Cover photo for Dr. Charles "Charlie" Pruett's Obituary
Dr. Charles "Charlie" Pruett Profile Photo
1928 Dr. 2020

Dr. Charles "Charlie" Pruett

April 21, 1928 — May 22, 2020

Madison – Dr. Charles Herbert "Charlie" Pruett, age 92, of Madison, WI, died with family at home on Friday, May 22, 2020. All will remember him for his gentle spirit, intelligence, and love for his family.

Born in Corning, NY, on April 21, 1928, to Lowell and Cory (Hughes) Pruett, he lived most of his early years in Bloomington, IN, completing his PhD in Physics at Indiana University. In 1956, he moved to Madison to help construct a new synchrotron accelerator at the University of Wisconsin and eventually became Optics Group Leader of the UW’s Synchrotron Radiation Center. He was a world expert in ultraviolet optics and instrumentation.

Charlie met Rose Mary McDonell while ice skating on the Vilas Park lagoon, and they were united in marriage on May 20, 1961. Over the years, they enjoyed international folk dancing, camping, and experiencing Madison’s sites, sounds, and activities with their son and daughter. Rose Mary preceded him in death in 1986.

On November 29, 1986, Charlie married Edna Paske, who he met while Scottish country dancing. After he retired from full-time work in 1990, Charlie enjoyed photography, dancing, recreational vehicle travel, and ocean cruises with Edna. They spent many fun-filled holidays with his three grandchildren in Georgia.

Charlie taught his son, Robert (Bob), and daughter, Renee, to love math and physical sciences, nature, photography, biking, and other activities. They were blessed by his kindness, and learned to treat every person with respect. Under his careful eye, they both became UW Badger and Green Bay Packer fans.

He is survived by his wife, Edna Paske of Madison; his daughter, Dr. Renee Ann McPherson (William) of Norman, OK; three grandchildren, James, Brian, and Jonathan Pruett; a daughter-in-law, Diane Pruett, nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.

Charles was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Rose Mary; his son, Dr. Robert James; and his brothers, Dr. John Robert and Frank Donald.

Due to CoVid19, visitors can greet the family from their cars at Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison, on Friday, May 29, 2020, between noon and 1:00 p.m. The family will celebrate Charles’ life in private after the visitation. Interment will follow in Resurrection Cemetery.

Donations may be made in honor of Charles Pruett to the Physics Department Alumni Fellowship Fund at Indiana University, or to Wisconsin Public Television.

Cress Funeral & Cremation Services

3610 Speedway Road

(608) 238-3434

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. Charles "Charlie" Pruett, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, May 29, 2020

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Central time)

Cress Funeral Home Madison - Speedway

3610 Speedway Rd, Madison, WI 53705

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