College of Optometry Professor Emeritus and alumnus Dr. Bill Preston ’57, O.D. ’58, passed away on Jan. 17 at the age of 82.
Beloved by both his colleagues and students, Dr. Preston served on Pacific’s optometry faculty from 1976-96. He was one of the University’s few second generation faculty emeriti, following his father Daniel, who served as the University’s School of Music Dean in the 1950s and became Associate Professor Emeritus of Music in 1963.
Bill Preston enrolled at Pacific as a sophomore in 1949, and joined the Marines to serve in the Korean War, advancing to the rank of sergeant. He returned to complete his undergraduate studies at Pacific following the war, and earned his doctorate of optometry in 1958. Upon graduation, Preston practiced general optometry for eight years in North Dakota, with a general emphasis on vision problems in children. During his practice, he became an expert on contact lenses.
He returned to the Pacific Northwest in 1966 and practiced in Portland for three years. He subsequently established a private practice in the Cedar Mill area near Beaverton before becoming a part-time clinical advisor at Pacific. He joined the College of Optometry’s clinic faculty on a full-time basis in 1976.
During his tenure at Pacific, he actively served on the College’s Admissions Committee, traveling extensively to the Midwest to recruit prospective students. He became the College’s Forest Grove Clinic Director in 1980. In addition to overseeing clinic administrative operations, he advised and lectured on various optometric topics until his retirement in the late 1990s. In addition to providing students and patients knowledge and expert care, Dr. Preston regularly bestowed financial gifts to the College of Optometry and other University offerings.
He once said, “I can’t help with the big bucks like some companies can, but I can help with the ‘real’ dollars that students need to buy food, pay rent and keep their cars running.” Dr. Preston had a fondness and talent for singing, gardening and landscaping. Countless audiences enjoyed his tremendous voice at local churches and in many performances at the Theatre in the Grove.
A memorial service was held on Jan. 22 at the United Church of Christ in Forest Grove. In lieu of flowers, the Preston family requests donations be made to the shelter at the United Church of Christ, or gifts to the music department at Pacific.