BENKELMAN -- Evert Leon Preston, 91, died Saturday (March 8, 2003) at the Dundy County Hospital in Benkelman.
He was born Jan. 30, 1912, on a farm near Oglesby, Okla., to Zachariah T. and Perlina J. (Chadwell) Preston. In 1927, the family bought a fruit orchard just outside of Harrison, Ark. After graduating from high school, Leon, as he was known by relatives and friends, worked at various jobs including a dam project in central Missouri. In 1933 he came to Doane, and lived for a while with his sister and brother-in-law. It was there that he met his future wife, Helen Walsh. In 1934, he took over management of the Doane filling station and they moved into the living quarters in the rear of the station building. In 1941, they moved to Denver, Colo., where he was employed making ammunition in support of the war effort. In the spring of 1943, they moved to Washington State where he worked for the company that was developing the atomic bomb. By mid 1944, the project was winding down and the family returned to Denver where he worked for the next several years as a carpenter. In 1949, the family moved back to the Walsh family farm five miles north of Doane. Finally, in 1978, they retired from the farm, built a house on the west edge of Benkelman, and moved to town.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers; four sisters, and an infant great-great grandson.
Survivors include his wife, Helen; son, Jerry Preston and wife, Josephine of Benkelman; son, William of Camarillo, Calif.; six grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; and seven great-great grandchildren.
Funeral services will be Tuesday, at 10:30 a.m., in the Forch Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. George Matthews officiating. Interment will follow services at the Benkelman Cemetery.
Visitation is today until 7 p.m. at Forch Funeral Chapel in Benkelman.
Arrangements are under the direction of Forch Funeral Chapel of Benkelman.