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Community mourns loss of Dwight Pruitt

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    Rev. Dwight Pruitt alongside Jane Delaney at the 3rd Annual Liberty County Prayer March last October.
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    Dayton Municipal Judge Alan Conner administers the oath of office to Dwight Pruitt alongside Janette Goulder-Frick and John Headrick last May.
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Liberty County has lost one of its best and brightest after the sudden passing of Rev. Dwight Pruitt, 61, last Thursday night.

Pruitt, who has long served the community of Dayton as a city councilman, and as a pastor in Ames at St. Miles Missionary Baptist Church, passed unexpectedly on Feb. 23, and his loss has been felt across the community.

Pruitt is the second oldest of the Eural and Lois Pruitt family and has long been part of the fabric of Dayton, serving the community in many roles.

One of the most important was that of a family man, leaving behind his wife, Liz, their children and countless other relatives.

His daughter Brandy Pruitt shared some thoughts on the memory of her father and the legacy he has left behind.

“Like many old-timers in the Lowoods community, my dad grew up in a loving two-parent household and with lots of family, friends, and neighbors who did not mind correcting or nurturing him. He was raised in a village of good God-fearing people,” Brandy continued, “When his world took a disastrous turn and life began to beat upon him, he remembered that God was able to speak, move and life would be brand new.”

She also spoke of his decision to go into politics and public service.

“My entire life, he called himself a diplomat, a dignitary, so it was no surprise to my sisters and I when he ventured into local politics. God done a tremendous work on my dad…a true testimony,” said Brandy.

His youngest brother Barry Pruitt spoke of how his brother was committed to serving the community and doing his part to help everyone.

“He did a lot for a lot of people, not just for locals here in Dayton, but in the entire county. He is really going to be missed in the community, just for all of the stuff he did for people,” said Barry.

Barry said he already misses the conversations they would have daily.

“You know he would help me. He would guide me. He never would say this is the way to do it. He would just give me information and let me try to figure it out on my own. That’s the stuff I’m going to miss, and I miss it already,” said Barry.

Several local leaders spoke on Pruitt’s contribution to the community and his lasting impact, including his longtime friend County Judge Jay Knight.

“Dwight, Frosty, and I have been friends for a long time. We got to be better friends as we got involved in civic matters, and he was always someone I could call and get advice from,” said Knight.

Knight said he and Pruitt could talk about anything and often did, just speaking several days prior.

“We always ended our calls with, ‘Love you, brother, talk to you soon,” Knight concluded.

In a statement from the city of Dayton, where Pruitt served on the city council on two separate occasions, City Manager Kimberly Judge spoke on his commitment to the community and how appreciated he was by everyone within the city.

“His passion for his family and community will always be remembered in the highest regard. We want to wish you peace, comfort, and courage at this time of sorrow. The City of Dayton staff sends our sympathy and unwavering support to the family. He will be greatly missed by his City of Dayton family,” said Kimberly Judge.

Dayton Mayor Caroline Wadzeck said she remains stunned by his passing and that his loss would be felt by the community and those that knew him personally.

“His leadership, his booming voice, his smile, and his sense of humor will be greatly missed,” she said.

Liberty County Commissioner Pct. 4 Leon Wilson spoke on how they had grown close as both found themselves dealing with health scares in recent months, with Pruitt checking in on him often as he battles cancer.

“His passing will be detrimental to the community and the city of Dayton because he was a real asset,” said Wilson.

Pruitt was also an avid fan of all things Dayton Broncos, which even brought him to the broadcast booth calling football games along with his brother Haywood “Frosty” Pruitt for KSHN.

He also had a stint filling in for The Vindicator after sports editor Jerry Michalsky became seriously ill with COVID-19.

“I have been covering Dayton football for 28 years and in 2021, I got very sick and Dwight covered the Broncos for the first six games of the season for me and we never missed a beat. I will miss seeing him at the football games because there was always a great conversation to be had,” said Michalsky.

Pruitt’s life will be celebrated this week with a public viewing set for Thursday, March 2, from 4-8 pm at St. Miles Missionary Baptist Church in Ames, located at 120 East US 90. Funeral services are scheduled for Friday, March 3, at 10 am at the Dayton Community Center at 801 South Cleveland St.