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HUNTINGTON — Blandon Prater, a member of Marshall University’s Young Thundering Herd football team, died Monday. He was 69.

Prater died of natural causes at his home in Charleston, South Carolina. A celebration of his life is scheduled for Saturday from 4-7 p.m. at Ocean Annie’s Beach Bar.

“He was a great man and friend,” said Allen Meadows, a former teammate of Prater, a running back, at Marshall.

A 1969 graduate of Myrtle Beach High School, Prater was a standout member of the Seahawk football team. His success on the field earned him a football scholarship to Marshall, from which he graduated in 1974.

The Young Thundering Herd were the teams Marshall fielded immediately after the Nov. 14, 1970 plane crash that killed all 75 players, coaches, boosters and flight crew on board in what has been recognized as the worst sports-related air tragedy in United States history.

For more than 35 years, Prater was an automobile wholesaler. He also sold real estate along South Carolina’s Grand Strand.

Prater is survived by his daughter, Raeshelle Prater Crews (Andy) of Johns Island, S.C.; a son, Brian Blandon Prater of Myrtle Beach; a granddaughter, Ayla Victoria Prater of Myrtle Beach; the mother of his son, Maxine Hearl Prater of Myrtle Beach; two sisters, including Linda Niner (John) of Hagerstown, Md., and Sharon Bartholomew of Georgetown, S.C.; and a brother, Wayne Rogers (Sue) of Greenville, S.C. He was preceded in death by a brother, Dwight Mitchell Prater.

McMillan-Small Funeral Home is serving the family. See the complete obituary and send written condolences at

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