Preston Wade StokesAugust 14, 1935 ~ July 1, 2017 (age 81)
Preston Wade Stokes, 81, a gentleman to his core, died July 1, 2017 after a short, ever-optimistic, and dignified battle with cancer. Preston was born August 14, 1935 in Jackson, MI, the son of Wade Hopkins Stokes, Jr. and Lou Ada Williams Stokes, both 1927 graduates of Millsaps College. The family moved several times with the USO, but Preston spent most of his childhood in Charleston, SC, graduating from Charleston High School in June, 1953.
Preston graduated from Clemson Agricultural College in South Carolina in 1957 majoring in Civil Engineering. Following Clemson, he joined the Army Corps of Engineers and was stationed in Fort Benning, then Thule, Greenland for two years.
After finishing his time in the Army, Preston helped build the George Washington Bridge in Washington, DC and then joined the Henry C. Beck Company in Atlanta which sent him to Albany, GA for a project. On a blind date in Albany, he met Linda Leeger, who became his partner for the last 54 years. Linda and Preston had two children: Presley (born in Atlanta, GA) and Wade (born in Chapel Hill, NC), who grew up in the 14 years the family lived in Richardson, Texas.
While in Dallas, Preston continued to work for Henry C. Beck and Rosewood, Corp. on projects that spanned the Dallas skyline. In 1985, Preston and Linda moved back to Atlanta for a new position with Cousins Real Estate. He later unexpectedly found his most enjoyable work at Haverty’s Furniture, helping plan and build new stores in the greater southeast. Throughout his career, the pleasure of his work was based on the people with whom he worked rather than the projects he managed.
In 1996, Preston was honored to serve as the envoy for the team from the Sudan at the Atlanta Olympics. The experience of this multi-year volunteer position was one of his favorites: living in the Olympic Village, learning the Sudanese culture, spending time with the Sudanese dignitaries and athletes, and entertaining them at their home on Huntcliff Trace.
In 2005, Preston and Linda built their dream house in Big Canoe, a community in North Georgia that inspired them with its hiking trails, mountains and warm, welcoming people. A showcase for Linda’s art and Preston’s meticulous and high building standards, the stunning house on Ridgeview Drive hosted many shindigs, gatherings, book clubs and dinner parties. From Big Canoe, Preston and Linda hiked the state parks of north Georgia and beyond, taking favorite hiking trips to Jasper and Banff, Canada, New England, the Lake District of England, as well as many trips to visit their children and beloved grandchildren in California, and Estonia, including a favorite family gathering in St. Wolfgang, Austria. For their 50th wedding anniversary, the family all met in Hilton Head, SC, the location of their honeymoon in 1963.
Preston was a true believer in making a difference in his community and his impact will be felt for years to come. His longest running efforts were with the Boys and Girls Club, where he began volunteering in 1982 in Texas, and continued in every city he lived thereafter. He was inducted into the Boys and Girls Club of Georgia Hall of Fame in 2015 which he considered his greatest honor. He was able to help design and facilitate the building of a new home for the Boys and Girls Club of Pickens County during his time there. His passion for the Pickens County community and residents was evident through his work with Good Samaritan Health Clinic’s Property & Design team and the Pickens Youth Enrichment program.
Preston was a collector of friends and kept in close touch with people from all parts of his life. He had golf friends, book club friends, opera friends, hiking friends. To those who knew him, he was larger than life yet humble, optimistic, a saint, honest, gentle, patient, an officer and a gentleman. He could gauge a person’s character by their golf game, and was forever committed to his friends and family. In his last week, he explained that his four greatest accomplishments in life were: finding Linda, becoming a father, working to be able to provide the educations of his children's dreams, and his wide circle of friends. He explained that although work may have been on that list at one time, upon reflecting, it was merely a means to the end. Preston showed us what a life well lived looks like.
He leaves behind his wife, Linda, daughter Presley (Saratoga, CA) and son Wade (Tallinn, Estonia) and their families including: Steve, Wade, Amelia, and George Troyer; Kristi, Katarina, and Peter Stokes; as well as his many beloved cousins.
Plans for services will be announced later.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to:
Boys & Girls Clubs of North Georgia, Inc.
PO Box 649
Jasper, GA 30143
Memo: Preston Stokes/Pickens Club
They are a 501c3 and their Federal Tax ID# is 20-2957153.
All donations are tax-deductible and will receive an acknowledgement.