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Loving husband and father passed away on October 11, 2012, at Wuesthoff Hospital, Rockledge, Florida.
One of the greatest generation, Preston was born in Buffalo, New York on May 2, 1921. He graduated from Howe Military Academy in 1939 and enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserves while a student at the University of Michigan. Preston was commissioned in June 1942, and served as a navigator and Naval aviator in the Southern Pacific Theater during World War II.
After the war he continued his service to his country and became a Navy test pilot. He received a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and M.S. in fluid dynamics from the Stevens Institute of Technology. He retired after 21 years of service in 1962.
During his civilian career, Preston worked in the space program first with Chrysler Corporation Space Division in Huntsville, Alabama. He then moved to Florida and was a NASA engineer for 25 years.
Preston was a past president and active member of Cape Canaveral Council Navy League. He has served as past president and current director of the Board of Directors at Hilton Grand Vacation Club in Orlando.
Preston is survived by his wife, Gladys Reid Beck, and three children, Preston Russell Beck, Virginia Diane Beck, and Penelope Annette Herrero. His grandchildren include Sarah Herrero, Jeremy Herrero, Randy Curtis, Angela Paddock, Darcy Gonzolez. Great grandchildren include Elise Paddock, Cameron Paddock, Shae Curtis, Taylor Curtis, Colin Curtis, Tiana Gonzolez, and Gabriella Gonzolez.
A Memorial Service with Military Honors and a Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.
Published in FLORIDA TODAY from Oct. 16 to Oct. 18, 2012