Richard Joseph Prescott
“Heroes are people who say this is my community and it is my responsibility to make it better.” (Thomas McCall)
The Master Builder has died at age 86. The oldest of three brothers who were orphaned at a young age, he was responsible for traveling alone with his 2 younger brothers to Arizona on a train when he was only 10, returning a year later with them to Illinois. He had taken a leadership role ever since. He took pride in the contribution that these Prescott boys have made to the Rock Falls-Sterling community .
By the age of 21, married with 3 children, he had already built 2 houses alone for his expanding family, seeing this as the only way he could provide a home for them. Along with his wife Juanita, he formed Prescott Construction Company in 1961 at the age of 30.
He was committed to quality, reliability, fairness, and honesty in all of his business and personal dealings. Consequently, his employees were loyal and proud to be working for him. He was committed to running a union shop to provide the best wages and benefits for his employees. He was instrumental in fostering the construction trades through the unions and the Northern Illinois Contractors’ Association. He was highly respected by his peers and competitors in the construction industry.
Examples of his buildings remain scattered throughout the tri-county area, including the Whiteside County Court House and Law Enforcement Center, YWCA, and Sacred Heart Church. He built additions to Community General Hospital and Sterling Township High School, including the vocational school there.
Being a self-made man, he never forgot that often people need only a small hand to help them achieve and succeed. Consequently, he sought ways to encourage others and to give back to the community he loved. While recovering from open heart surgery in 1986, he started (even from his hospital bed at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago) planning and designing Parkway Center. He believed that the community needed such a service for its senior citizens. Parkway Center became the first such program in the State of Illinois to provide 3 levels of care in one setting—independent living, semi-assisted care, and skilled nursing care.
He and his wife Juanita started a low fee dental clinic, provided scholarships for Sauk Valley College, and most recently, made a major contribution to Rock River Hospice and Home.
Along with his wife Juanita, he formed Prescott Construction Company, Prescott Development, Prescott Country Acres, and Parkway Center, to name a few.
To quote a friend, he was “charming, cheerful, and very human” in his dealings with others. He was known as an excellent dancer. When he attended his last dance, he was too weak to actually dance. This did not mean he could not enjoy the music and “feel the beat.” As he got up to leave, walking slowly with a cane, he was surrounded by women who danced with him in circle.
He was preceded in death by his mother Nettie (d. 1934), his father George (d. 1941), and his wife Juanita (d. 2005).
He is survived by his brothers James and Robert; his 3 children Kathleen (Daniel) Moskowitz, Vicki Lee (Paul Couch) Prescott, and Richard G. (Leontine) Prescott; five grandsons Andrew Richard Moskowitz, Alexander Prescott-Couch, Timothy Robert Prescott, Jonathan Jacob Moskowitz, and Quincy Lee Prescott; and his companion and best friend Marilou Lawrence.
Visitation is 4-7 Tuesday January 9, 2018 at Schilling Funeral Home & Cremation in Sterling. Memorial service will be 11 AM, Wednesday January 10, 2018 at Schilling Funeral Home & Cremation. Private family burial will take place at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Rock River Hospice and Home (2706 Avenue E, Sterling, Illinois 61081), which he considered to be the pinnacle of his career.