Reagan Lawence Preis
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PREIS, Reagan Lawrence , Colonel USMC Retired April 18, 1928 to December 18, 2020 Reagan was born in San Antonio, Texas to Dorothy Stauffer, a 1920's flapper and artist, and Rex Preis, a famous San Antonio big band trumpet player. Reagan was brought up by his grandparents, Floyd and Delta Stauffer, and Rex and his wife, Evelyn Phillips Preis. A 1946 graduate of Alamo Heights High School, Reagan attended the University of Texas in Austin through the Navy ROTC program and was an active member of the Kappa Alpha Order. Graduating from UT Austin in 1950 with a BBA, Reagan was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps and first served in the 1st Marine Division Artillery as a forward observer in the mountains of Korea, an active out post along the front line with periodic enemy sorties by Chinese and North Korean soldiers. Reagan would often tell how it got so cold in the mountains that he would sleep with his K-rations in his sleeping bag so they would not freeze; and that once a month, he was able to come down from the lines to get dusted for lice, take a hot shower, and get new clothes. Following this oversea tour of duty Reagan returned to San Antonio on leave where he met and married his former classmate and the love of his life, Jean "Jeannie" Louise Menger. While on leave Reagan concluded that it would be better to be a "fly boy" rather than in the infantry and applied to flight school to become a Marine Aviator. Assigned to the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Reagan learned to fly in a SNJ-4B prop airplane, the "Texan", where he received his aviator wings. Moving to Corpus Christi, Reagan trained and qualified to fly the Navy and Marine's aircraft carrier designed fighter jet the F9F Panther. Their first daughter, Nancy Lynn, was born in Corpus Christi in November 1956, and after moving to Oahu, Hawaii, their son Rex Lawrence was born in June 1958. Reagan and Jeannie loved Hawaii, and for Reagan it was a rich time in his aviation career as he was flying the World War II vintage F4U Corsair. This was an airplane he truly believed was built for him and was an utter joy to fly. Moving to Kaneohe Bay, Reagan was trained to fly the newest Navy jet fighter the F8 Crusader; a supersonic carrier-based jet fighter which distinguished itself as a tough effective fighter during the Vietnam Conflict. In 1961, the family moved to Beaufort, South Carolina where Reagan's fighter squadron was active during the Cuban Missile Crisis as tactical support. Two years were spent In Norfolk, Virginia, and the family then returned to Beaufort, where Reagan was awarded command of his own squadron of F8 Crusaders, VMF 333 the "Fighting Shamrocks". Here Reagan received his Silver Oak Leaf Clusters and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Reagan was deployed to Vietnam in 1967 and assigned to General William Westmoreland's staff where he worked alongside US Army personnel on the "McNamara Line". Reagan referred to himself as the "token Marine" on this project; a failed attempt to build a system of sonar buoys and barriers that would impede troop movements of the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Stationed in Saigon, Reagan watched the Tet Offensive rockets and other ordinance explosions from the roof top of his living quarters. Completing his tour of Vietnam, Reagan was assigned to Marine Corps headquarters at the Pentagon. After the Pentagon, Reagan attended the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where Ann Louise was born on a snowy Easter morning in 1970. In the summer of 1970, Reagan was assigned to the 4th Marine Corps District, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to improve Marine Corps recruitment. It was here Reagan received his Eagles and was awarded the rank of "full bird" Colonel. The Marine Corps planned to promote Reagan to Brigadier General, commanding a Fighter Air Wing in El Toro California. Concerned about family roots and wanting everyone to be together, he retired from the Marine Corps in June of 1972. Reagan enjoyed a successful career in the Marine Corps and was an exceptional aviator with more than 2000 hours of flight time, becoming a member of "The 2,000 Hour Club". Returning to San Antonio Texas, Reagan started a second career with USAA. Reagan and Jeannie moved to California for several years to manage the USAA Regional Office, and then back to San Antonio. Reagan retired as a Regional Vice President from USAA in 1993, serving as President of the USAA Golden Eagles Club. Reagan was a brilliant scholar of history, the pinnacle of the greatest generation, and had the Right Stuff. He mesmerized family members with his pilot stories, and it was an honor to try on his helmet and flight jacket. He loved his family, dogs, exotic fish, orchids, and was always ready for Happy Hour! Returning from whence he came he is now safely in the arms of Jeannie, who left this earth in 2016. Reagan leaves behind his three children and their spouses, Nancy Russell and her husband Frank, Rex Preis and his wife Karen, Ann Weborg and her husband Chris; his grandchildren Amanda Whalen and her husband Mike, Kathrine Russell, Katherine "Katie" Preis, Riley Preis, Abigail Weborg, and Cooper Weborg; and great grandchildren Devon, Elizabeth, and James Whalen; his sister Patsy Beveridge and her children, Amy, Tito, and Del; his brother Phil and his children, Liberty and Amity. The family gives its heartfelt thanks to Rosalinda "Linda" Rodriguez of Incarnate Word Sisters Care and to Clara Ortiz for their many years of loving service as personal care givers to Reagan and Jeannie. A private service will be held at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery at a later date. You are invited to sign the Guestbook at Arrangements with PORTER LORING MORTUARY 1101 MCCULLOUGH AVENUE SAN ANTONIO, TX 78212 (210) 227-8221

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Published in Austin American-Statesman on Jan. 10, 2021.
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January 10, 2021
Reagan and Jean were wonderful neighbors and friends for many years. Janice and I enjoyed their company on many occasions.
Art Bayern
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