Stephen Douglas Pruitt was born Oct. 21, 1952, in Moscow, Idaho. He was the only child of Wilmer Wesley Pruitt and Lucille Poore Pruitt. Steve was raised in Orofino and Kamiah along the Clearwater River in the northern part of the state.
He received his bachelor's degree in architecture from the University of Idaho in Moscow in May 1977. Steve was active in the Greek system at U of I as a proud Sigma Nu. He met Collett Marie Warren, an Alpha Phi, the first week of their freshman year. They began dating during their sophomore year, and in August 1975, the two were married in Collett's hometown of Elko, Nev. Upon graduation, Collett and Steve car camped across Europe and Scandinavia for four months before settling in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
In July 1978 they moved to the Wood River Valley, where they raised both their daughters. Gariety Warren Pruitt was born in May 1984 and Kaley Warren Pruitt arrived in February 1988. Both girls affectionately called him "Papa." Steve's father, 'Bus,' passed away in December 1987, and he lost his mother in December 2010.
Steve and Collett moved to the Wood River Valley so Steve could practice residential architecture. He was a licensed, registered, AIA architect for 33 years, designing homes in California, Nevada, the Pacific Northwest and even Arkansas. He designed the family's current home in Zinc Spur in 1983 where the girls grew up and still come home to today. He founded his own firm, Architecture Plus, in 1986. Steve was passionate about designing creative and functional homes. He formed many lifelong friendships during his career; he had an innate ability to listen, envision and enable his clients to realize their ideal homes.
Throughout his life, Steve firmly believed in contributing to the communities he lived in. Always enthusiastic, he was an avid parent volunteer during Gariety's and Kaley's entire school careers. From leading the architectural project at Hemingway Elementary School to repainting the hallways of Wood River High School, he enjoyed being an active father. Within the community, he also served with Blaine County Planning & Zoning, Lions Club, Sawtooth City Homeowners Association, Building Contractors Association of the Wood River Valley, Mountain States Chapter of AIA, Laughing Stock Theatre Company, Ketchum Arts Commission, Wood River Economic Partnership, and the Ketchum Community Development Corp. Recently he was particularly proud of his role in the creation of the Ketchum Town Square, Art on 4th, and the Kagan Park.
His adventurous soul led him to many places in the world. He and Collett have fond memories of their travels to Europe, the Caribbean and India. He cherished the Sawtooth Valley and camped with his family at their property in Smiley Creek every summer. As the girls grew up, the Pruitts took many memorable family trips to the national parks of the West and the big cities on both coasts. Steve also backpacked with friends and took annual trips with Kaley throughout the state of Idaho. While Gariety was living in South America, Steve and Kaley visited her in Paraguay and together they hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. His adventures at home included creative cooking and being behind the wheel of his treasured 1914 Model T, "Toady."
Steve had a love for the stage, and it developed into quite the family affair. Over the years, all four Pruitts performed side by side. He was a familiar face in many Laughing Stock productions, beginning with his first chorus role in 1979 in "Mame." Some of his most favorite roles were Nicely Nicely in "Guys & Dolls," Will in "Oklahoma," the coach in "Damn Yankees," Sancho in "Man of La Mancha," a townsman in "A Christmas Carol" and, of course, the emcee in "Cabaret." As the theater became a second home for the Pruitts, the fellow players became, and always will be, their second family.
Steve's love for his girls was his motivating force throughout his adult life. This was most apparent when he was diagnosed with a malignant aggressive sarcoma in his spine in July 2010. He withstood radiation, a one-of-a-kind tumor resection surgery, chemotherapy, clinical trials and alternative medicine. He was treated with skill and compassion at the Mountain State Tumor Institute in both Twin Falls and Boise, and most extensively at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
Through the grace and generosity of family friends in Newton, the Pruitts were able to enjoy a lot of time together in this crucial year. Steve and Collett watched proudly as their daughters began their careers in New York City. Gariety is pursing dual master's degrees in elections and campaign management and Latin American & Latino studies at Fordham University. After graduating from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Kaley is now dancing and choreographing professionally as well as working in arts administration.
Despite Steve's brave and difficult battle, treatments did not stop the growth of the tumors. The Pruitts returned to the valley to enjoy its beautiful Indian summer with family and friends. Just before dawn on Monday, Oct. 3, Steve passed peacefully at his Zinc Spur home surrounded by Collett, Gariety, Kaley and their beloved dog, Mavis.
There will be a celebration of Steve's life on his birthday, Friday, Oct. 21, 2011. It will be held at the nexStage Theatre starting at 7 p.m., with the program beginning at 8:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, Collett, Gariety and Kaley suggest a memorial donation to Laughing Stock Theatre Company or Hospice & Palliative Care of the Wood River Valley. Although his time was too short in years, his life was lived fully; Steve will always be remembered and celebrated by those who knew and loved him.
Please visit www.woodriverchapel.com to share a memory, leave a condolence or light a candle (Wood River Chapel, Hailey, Idaho).