Preston Charles King was born June 18th, 1934 in Englewood, Colorado and died on October 9th, 2016 in his home in Durango, Colorado. Four years ago Preston was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia and given less than 5 years to live. These years marked the last of a remarkable life. Preston grew up in the depression era. He had one older sister, Lucy. His father was a welder supervisor in Downtown Denver and was proud to have never been unemployed during the depression. Preston went to school in Englewood to a teaching college at what is now University of Northern Colorado. Most of Preston's longtime friends were his college fraternity brothers from Sig Ep and United Airlines. In his third year of college, Preston's father passed away and he was forced to quit school to help pay his family's expenses and his college loans. His mentor, who was a commercial airline pilot, advised Preston to join the Navy Aviation Program. He was encouraged to obtain as much multi-engine training as possible in order to qualify for employment with a major airline when he finished his tour. Preston entered the program. After successful completion, Preston flew the Atlantic in a P2V Subhunter stationed on the east coast of the US and the Mediterranean Sea. He would often regale his family with stories of the Coast de Sol in Spain. Once Preston finished his Navy tour, he was hired as a pilot for United Airlines in the hay-day of flying. He soon met his first wife, Ann, who was a flight attendant. They had 2 daughters, Debra Lee and Jo Anne who now live in Grand Junction and a son, Samuel, who lives in Durango. Preston and Ann divorced in 1971. A second marriage ended in divorce in 1980. Preston flew for 20 years out of Denver then moved to Del Mar, California where he flew his remaining years as a DC10 pilot based out of Los Angeles with routes to Tokyo and Bangkok. He met his 3rd wife, Bernice, in Del Mar and retired at age 55. They moved to Wasilla, Alaska on Cottonwood Lake where he parked his Cessna 180 airplane on floats. They bought a house in Omokaroa, New Zealand where they spent the winters fly fishing in the sun. At age 72, Preston again divorced and moved to Southern Colorado where his son, Sam, was working as an oil field engineer. He spent his last years living in Durango and spending winters on the beach in Sayulita, Mexico. Friends of Preston are invited to join the family for a life celebration open house on Tuesday, October 18th from 3:00pm to 6:00pm at 449 E. 4th Ave., Durango. The celebration will informally continue at Preston's favorite bar, the Diamond Belle Saloon after 7:00pm.
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