Colonel Edward John Preston, Jr., 84, passed peacefully 17 Dec 17 at his home in Kingsville, TX, where he had resided since 1993. Born in San Benito, TX 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 years 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 moral. 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.