Mary Katharine Pratt Salovaara, 94, known to many as “P.K.,” died on Friday, April 5 at the home of her
daughter Katharine (Kate) Pratt Salovaara Brower in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she had moved March
6. She had been a resident of her beloved Jenningston Farm, in Tucker County, West Virginia, for nearly 30 years, the last four and a half with her niece, Katharine West Parker.
Her six children, Erik Jorma, Kristian Robert, Katharine Pratt, Jonn, Kaarina and Lauri Mikael, had all visited
with her during her time in Greensboro. Her sons, Jonn and Kris, were present along with daughter Kate at her
passing. Her children, their spouses, 18 grandchildren, three grandchildren-in-law and numerous nieces,
nephews, cousins and their families, are inspired by her extraordinarily positive and productive life, including
her commitment to fully play out all her days.
In 1989 she retired to West Virginia from Chicago, ending her career as a law librarian with Baker McKenzie.
Previously she worked at Northwestern University Law School, Kirkland & Ellis, Informatics, Moraine Valley
Community College, Triton College, and the University of Chicago’s Harper Memorial Library. She was
married to Jorma Julius (J.J.) Salovaara for 41 years, and they lived with their children in numerous
communities throughout the U.S.
She was born in Bellefontaine, Ohio, on November 9, 1924, a proud descendant of The Blind Man Eloquent,
Judge William H. West. Her mother was Katharine West and her father was the surgeon Malcolm Lewis Pratt,
M.D. She graduated from Denison University in 1945 where she received her B.A. in economics and was a
member and officer of Kappa Alpha Theta. In 1951, she received a Master’s degree in library science from the
University of Denver, where she met and married Jorma, who died in 1994.
Mary Katharine was a force for literacy, education, and reforestation through many volunteer activities during
her West Virginia retirement. She oversaw the planting of thousands of red spruce and balsam fir trees at
Jenningston, was active at the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, in a wide variety of other community
organizations, and at Grace Episcopal Church in Elkins. She cared for the house and grounds at Jenningston
Farm, welcoming a myriad of family and friends over the years.
Mary Katharine bequeathed her body to The Anatomical Gift Program at Elon University’s School of Health
Sciences. Donations in her memory may be made to TCF/Mary Katharine Salovaara fund, Tucker Community
Foundation, PO Box 491, Parsons, West Virginia 26287.
A service will be held in her honor in West Virginia in late August.