John Louis ‘Bud’ Preston

NORTHVILLE, Michigan — John Louis “Bud” Preston, 85, died August 27, 2021, in Northville, Michigan.

He was born March 1, 1936, in Gallipolis, Ohio, the first of two children of Louis Lee Preston and Ida Ellen (Eggleton) Preston, and was immediately given the nickname Buddy by his aunt. He graduated from Gallia Academy High School in Gallipolis in 1954 as co-valedictorian. As a high school student, he was elected governor of the Ohio District of Key Clubs. He attended Yale University on a full academic scholarship, graduating in 1958 with a B.A. in religion. At Yale he made the dean’s list, was president of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, and was a member of Skull and Bones.

After graduation, Bud went to work as a merchandiser for Evans Supermarkets in his hometown of Gallipolis, launching a long and successful business career that took him to Tennessee, Kentucky, New York, back to Ohio, Pennsylvania, and finally to Michigan, moving to Northville in 1989. He served various companies as general manager, executive vice president, president, chief operating officer and chief executive officer. He also served as a member of several corporate boards of directors.

Several of Bud’s jobs saw him travel the world to deal with suppliers and customers, with frequent trips to Europe, Asia, Brazil and Australia. He made lifelong friends wherever he went and continued his international travel in retirement.

An outstanding athlete, Bud earned 10 varsity letters in high school. He was quarterback of the football team, a starter on the basketball team, and threw the shot and discus for the track and field team. At Yale he rowed as part of the crew team; then after college he was an avid runner, competitive sailor, and scuba diver, before taking up cycling after moving to Michigan. He rode more than 50,000 miles in 11 countries, including a coast-to-coast ride from California to Georgia, dipping his wheel into both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, when he was 60 years old.

Bud married his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth Faye “Betty” Morrison, on Dec. 22, 1956, in Gallipolis. They were together until her death on July 12, 2005. They had two children, John Louis Gordon “J.G.” Preston (born in 1958) and Stephen Ashley Preston (born in 1959). Bud married Gail Egener Allgaier on Dec. 17, 2005, having met her through cycling, and they rode thousands of miles a year together all over the world as long as his health allowed.

Bud is survived by his wife, Gail Preston, who lovingly cared for him during a long illness; sister, Sharon Murray (Ken) of Morgantown, West Virginia; sons, J.G. (Jo Ann Shroyer) of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Stephen (Dawn) of Port Washington, New York; stepchildren, Alan Allgaier (Tina) of Ortonville, Michigan, and Nancy Stafford (John) of Clearwater, Florida; grandchildren, Jessica Preston, Katherine Preston, Andrew Preston (Jasmin) and Daniel Preston; step-grandchildren, Peter McClanahan, Claire McClanahan (Bob O’Hagan), Finn Allgaier and Conrad Allgaier; great-grandson, Derek Preston; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Bud was an adventurous spirit with a kind and generous heart. Everyone whose life he touched, particularly his family, will miss him terribly and will remember him for all that he did to encourage and support their dreams.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, October 2, 2021 at 11 a.m. at Willis Funeral Home, 12 Garfield Avenue, Gallipolis, Ohio with Pastor Kerry Foote officiating. Friends may call prior to the service from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. at the funeral home. The family requests that all who attend the inside services wear face coverings. Masks will be provided to those who need one. Burial will follow in Ohio Valley Memory Gardens, Gallipolis.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the League of Michigan Bicyclists, 410 S. Cedar Street #A, Lansing, Michigan 48912 or to the Louis and Ida Preston Scholarship Fund, University of Rio Grande, 218 N College Avenue, Rio Grande, Ohio 45674.