Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Thomas S.W. Preston, of Suffolk, Va., went to be with the Lord on March 3, 2009, after a valiant battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
He was born in Los Angeles, Calif., to Felicia Fay and Shirley Webb Preston on July 17, 1934, and was a direct descendant of the Mayflower’s John Alden. He graduated from Brown Military Academy and the prestigious U.S. Air Force Academy Class 55P, and later earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in airport transport and management from Kennedy Western University. His career began as an Air Force fixed-wing and helicopter pilot; in Japan he taught English as a second language in his spare time. He later owned a small flight school at Stead AFB in Nevada, which trained missionary pilots, and was a host for International Student Exchange there and in Texas. After a 27-year career with American Airlines, Tom retired and lived primarily in Virginia.
From 1997 to 2005 he and his wife, Jody, enjoyed their equestrian bed and breakfast, Foxhill Ordinary, in Fairfield. Tom was active with University Family Fellowship in Reno, Nev., a member of Kingston Parish Episcopal Church in Mathews, Tabernacle Presbyterian Church in Fisherville, and Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church in Suffolk, Va. His spirit was generous and his love for God, family and country steadfast.
Tom is survived by his devoted wife, Jody Preston; their children, Lisa Preston and her husband, Mike Glock, Michelle and her husband, Greg La Londe, Thomas Preston II, Shawn Bulifant, Kevin Bulifant and his wife, Sonia, Mark Bulifant and his wife, Dina; 12 grandchildren; Chelsea Cook, of New York City, N.Y., Eric, Nick, Jake, and Buck LaLonde of Rainbow Valley, Calif.; Emily Bulifant, of Virginia Beach; Christian, Celeste, Noah, Marina, Zachary, and Valerie Bulifant of Fort Eustis, Va.; cousins, Richard and Louise Wilson, of San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
Friends and loved ones will be received at Baker-Foster Funeral Home, Bennett’s Creek Chapel, 5685 Lee Farm Lane, Suffolk, on Wednesday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Funeral services will be conducted Thursday at 10 a.m. by the Rev. Ruffin Alphin in Westminster Presbyterian Church with burial in Alfred G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veteran’s Cemetery in Suffolk, with a reception at the church after the committal. In lieu of flowers, Tom wished that the Westminster Missions Fund be remembered. Condolences may be registered at www.rwbakerfh.com.