HUERFANO — Inez Prator, a resident of the Spanish Peaks Veterans Community Living Center, just turned 99. She was born on July 20, 1916 in Tyrone, Colorado. Her father, Roy Spangler, was a homesteader and he worked for a local cattle ranch. He later became a hunter and trapper for the government. Her mother died of Black Smallpox when she was six years old, and since Inez had three younger sisters, her father was unable to raise them. He sent them to live in Missouri with their grandparents where they attended school. Eventually they were able to return to live with their father in La Veta. When they moved back, they had to live in a tent while their father was building a house. Inez and her three sisters went to La Veta High School where she graduated in 1935 with her sister Georgie. Also in that graduating class was her future husband Ernie Prator. After graduating she went to cosmetology school in Pueblo to become a beautician. When she finished, she
took a job in a beauty shop in in La Veta and worked there until World War II began. During the war, Inez and her sister went to California to work in a shipyard building liberty ships. These ships were very important to the war effort since they were used to transport troops around the world. Women were needed in the workforce to fill positions previously filled by the men who were serving in the military. They worked very hard and performed many jobs that kept the war production working. Ernie Prator was also serving his country in the Army Air Corps as a gunner instructor for the B29 crews. After the war, Inez moved back to La Veta and opened a beauty shop. She married Ernie Prator, her second husband. They were married for 55 years until he passed away. She has two children; a son, Will, who now lives in La Veta and a daughter, Becky Jane, who lives in Missouri. Inez Prator is a strong woman who has answered the call to help her country during war. She is the oldest living survivor of her class at La Veta High School and is living comfortably in the Veterans Living Center.