Colonel Edward John Preston, Jr., 84, passed peacefully Sunday, December 17, 2017 at his home in Kingsville, Texas, where he had resided since 1993. Edward is survived by his four children, Lisa Preston Belcher and son-in-law Bruce Belcher, Robert Preston and daughter-in-law Catriona Preston, Edward Preston III, and Karl Preston, as well as six grandchildren: Monica Rambo and grandson-in-law Eric Rambo, Rebecca Whitton and grandson-in-law Sean Whitton, Eric Belcher, Emily Rose Belcher, Andrew Preston, Benjamin Preston, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Born in San Benito, Texas to parents Edward “Tony” J. Preston, Sr. and Vivian G. Matatall, Edward’s family, including siblings Richard and Jeannine, moved to Brownsville when he was 7 years old. There Edward excelled in both academics and football, was a well-known swing dancer, and, if the stories he told his children are any indication, could be a bit of a well-humored troublemaker from time to time.
A veteran of over 39 year’s active duty in the Army, Edward enlisted in 1951 and served as a combat medic in the Korean War. In 1959 he entered the College of Arts and Industries, also enrolling in ROTC. He was commissioned from Javelina Battalion as a Second Lieutenant in the Medical Services Corp in 1962. Among the many assignments throughout his career the following stand out: serving as the Commander of the 57th Medical Detachment “DUSTOFF” air ambulance during the Vietnam War, Commander of the 326th Medical Battalion of the 101st Airborne Division, and Liaison Officer to the German General Staff at the NATO medical compound in Heidelberg, Germany.
Edward earned numerous recognitions and awards including three Legions of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, four awards for Meritorious Service, 38 awards of the Air Medal with three having the “V” device, the Army Commendation Medal, Master Army Aviator Badge, Combat Infantry Badge, Combat Medical Badge, as well as a number of foreign decorations.
Retiring from active duty in 1993 at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Edward and his two youngest sons relocated to Kingsville where he took up a role teaching History, Government and JROTC at The Academy High School. He became closely involved with Texas A&M University Kingsville’s alumni program, giving generously, as well as being instrumental in establishing scholarships and support for the programs and students at Javelina Nation. A strong supporter of all TAMUK Athletics, Edward held season tickets on the 50 yard line of the football field since 1962 and especially loved the Ladies’ Volleyball program, being recognized as Booster of the Year in 2017.
An avid traveller, Edward took his family to Disneyland at least 20 times over the years, toured Germany, Austria and the Alps, visited the ancient ruins in Rome and Cairo, attended the 70th and 73rd D-Day Anniversary celebrations in Normandy, hiked Hawaii, and, perhaps dearest to his heart, made many trips to visit family and friends in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Becoming affectionately known throughout the Kingsville community as “The Colonel” or “Uncle Ed”, he was not only a father but also a best friend to his children and extended family, as well as their friends, many of whom also regarded him as a father figure and role model. A dedicated member of his Catholic parish in Sarita, Edward regularly participated as a reader and lent his support to a variety of events and fundraisers. He was quick to laugh and smile, always willing to help others, a champion of animal welfare, experienced a love / hate relationship with the San Antonio Spurs, and the kindest, most generous soul one could meet.
Memorial services will be held at St. Martin Catholic Church, 715 North 8th Street, Kingsville, Texas at 10:00am on Saturday, January 27th, 2018. Edward will be interned with full military honors at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas on Friday, February 23rd, 2018 at 1:30pm - all guests are asked to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the ceremony beginning. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests donations be made to the COL Edward J. Preston ROTC Scholarship at Texas A&M Kingsville. These gifts may be made online at http://www.javelinagiving.org/rotc or mailed to:
Texas A&M - Kingsville Foundation
COL Edward J. Preston ROTC Scholarship
700 University Blvd., MSC 173
Kingsville, TX 78363
Any questions at be directed to 361-593-3917 or firstname.lastname@example.org
sending my love and prayers to family of Edward Preston. My heart is hurting for all of you. Edward wss a kind soul. He will always be in my thoughts .
carolyn matatall mendiasDurango, CO
Thinking of Rob, family and friends during this time. With sympathy, Alison Derick-Northcutt
Alison Derick-NorthcuttAustin, TX
The Preston Family,
Our sincere condolences on your bereavement. Your family are in our thoughts and prayers. May Edward rest in eternal peace.
From Rob’s Friends and Colleagues,
Olivia, Greg, Bobbie and Alison.