It Takes a Family to Comfort a Family
Abby Clark Pruett
Abby Clark Pruett passed away peacefully on August 23, 2021 surrounded by family in Carrollton, Virginia. She was the daughter of Jimmy Clark of Hickory, NC, and the late Donna Trowbridge Clark and was the beloved wife of Peter Pruett and devoted mother to Karli (16) and Joeli (14).
Abby grew up a military brat and traveled throughout the US and Europe. As a child, she visited Civil War battlegrounds, Holocaust sites, Paris, the Black Forest, and east Berlin, among other travels. But she lived longest in Virginia and settled near the James River. In middle school, she was one of the first girls to play soccer on the local all-boys soccer team in Newport News, and she was a goalie for Denbigh High School’s field hockey team. A graduate of Appalachian State University, she worked for 17 years as a Data Analyst for Huntington Ingalls Industries.
As one of her favorite cousins said so aptly of Abby: “Her spitfire personality lit up every room she entered. She lived life like I think we all should – bold, loud, and proud.”
Devotion to family marked her entire life. She loved reunions and get-togethers and country cooking. She could whip up a casserole or dessert like nobody’s business, and she especially loved German, Polish, and Filipino cuisine (lechon was a particular favorite dish).
Abby made sure her family’s weekends were full, tasting and buying from Asian markets, screaming her head off at her daughters’ field hockey games in Smithfield, and boating on the James River.
From a tender age, you could not keep her out of the water. When she was just a toddler, she would wade into the ocean near Monterey at Big Sur, inevitably losing her diaper and streaking buck-naked. She loved the beaches in Florida and was married beachside in Jamaica. She crabbed in tidewater Virginia and fished in a pond on her Aunt Wyneise’s farm in Alabama. She had a particular fondness for sea turtles, manatees, and the dolphins that would follow in their boat’s wake on the James River.
Abby never lost her childhood joy. Nothing made her happier than simply watching Disney movies with her girls, sharing a love of Harry Potter, or introducing them to the complex sci-fi world of Star Wars. She knew every line from the first trilogy. With her family, she thrilled on the rollercoaster rides at Busch Gardens, and she still held onto the last shred of the blanket she carried around with her as a kid (her “bankie” or “night-night”.) During the Christmas season, she displayed ornaments and smokers from German Christmas markets, and she never tired of an annual viewing of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation with her family.
Abby relished sports competitions. She was an avid Duke basketball fan and came to love her husband’s team, the New York Giants. She enjoyed games in New York and most recently accompanied her father to see his beloved Atlanta Braves beat the Los Angeles Dodgers. Though her extended Alabama family was split on their football rivalry, she rooted for the Auburn Tigers.
They say it takes a village, and Abby and her family were fortunate to be surrounded by a tight web of generous and fun-loving neighbors in Carrollton. She loved their frequent gatherings and oyster roasts but was known to sometimes slip quietly away to put on comfy pajamas and settle in with a good book. She shared her sister’s love of reading and devoured fiction.
Abby embraced life with fervor. She indulged her sweet tooth (she was particularly fond of Reese’s peanut butter cups). She appreciated the surprise of colors emerging every season from her hydrangeas, a favorite flower. She loved listening to country music, 80s tunes from her childhood, and especially her native Virginia’s Dave Matthews Band. She always kept Virginia peanuts on hand, and she rocked all the style trends, usually sporting flip-flops. She considered her boss a close friend, who introduced her to Southern Breeze black tea, which she religiously drank at the gym. She loved her rescue pup, Bentley, and was proud of the family’s big baby, the Bull Mastiff Sully, documenting his growth through frequently shared photos.
Abby was beloved by family, friends, and strangers alike. She had the bluest eyes, beautiful curly blonde hair, and a smile that never faded. Many of us will remember Abby laughing, most of all.
In addition to the large and tight-knit extended Pruett family, she leaves behind her sister Laurie Clark, her deeply loved extended family in Alabama, and nephews Ethan Stabile and Jayce Pruett.
There will be a visitation on Saturday, August 28 from 3:00-5:00 pm at the Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23601. The CDC highly recommends masks for inside gatherings. A memorial service is tentatively planned for early October.