Preston West Kelly died peacefully on September 19, 2017, at Evergreen Hospital, as he fought the complications of recent surgery. He was born on June 2, 1936, to Henry G. and Elizabeth West Kelly in Chicago, Illinois. He was a Boy Scout, literally and figuratively, and President of the National Honor Society at North Park Academy.
After he graduated from Carleton College, Preston became an editor at Scott Foresman Publishing in Chicago, and later an executive at McGraw-Hill Publishing in New York City. Preston met Lois (née Velma Lois Van Dyke), his beloved wife of 53 years, while at Scott Foresman in 1963. They married in 1964, then relocated to Connecticut. In 1970 they welcomed their beloved daughter Susan Elizabeth. In the mid-‘90s Preston retired from McGraw-Hill, and he and Lois moved to Woodinville, Wash.
Preston was an avid reader, connoisseur of opera and classical music, and a dedicated film buff. He was an indefatigable hobbyist with interests ranging from kite flying and bonsai sculpting to photography, woodworking, and welding, to piano and voice lessons; he was active in the Woodin-ville Unitarian Universalist Church and Choir. Preston engaged wholeheartedly in his life-long passion for trains and steam engines, and at the time of his death he was building a model railroad in his home.
Preston was preceded in death by his mother, Elizabeth; his father, Henry; and his sister, Marla Dankert. He leaves behind wife Lois; daughter Susan and fiancée Marcella; several nieces and nephews; and countless fans in those he knew along his way. Those who met Preston were immediately struck by his beautiful blue eyes, his kindness, quick mind, and ever-present sense of humor. He possessed a rare optimism and the ability to make even strangers smile a little brighter for the rest of the day.
Preston, we love you dearly and miss you tremendously. Thank you for sharing your life with us.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, October 21st, followed by a reception, at the Woodinville Unitarian Universalist Church. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association or the Woodinville Homeward Pet Adoption Center.