Gail Stuart Preston passed away peacefully in Woodland, California, on Nov. 21, 2020, at the age of 92.
Gail was born on July 3, 1928, in Taft, California. His parents, Harold Melville Preston and Lolita Blanche Pemberton Preston, were happy to have a son, Gail, and a daughter, the late Nancy Lolita Preston. Gail was a third-generation Californian on his mother’s side and fourth generation on his father’s.
Gail served in the U.S. Army at the close of WWII in the Philippines as a corporal and later in the Korean conflict as a 1st Lt. Good in school, Gail graduated with a degree in civil engineering from UC Berkeley in 1954.
His early career was at US Steel Corporation, where he was a senior engineer for the American Bridge Division and later with the State of California as a staff engineer. Holding three licenses with the State of California – civil, structural, and mechanical, he was a lifelong member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Gail had one son, Joseph, with his first wife, Joy Scott Preston, both of whom predeceased him. His daughter-in-law survives him, June Jeanette Heichman Preston. He has three stepsons with his second wife, Ada Holloway Preston – William Martz Holloway (Patricia), his namesake, Jeffrey Gail Holloway (Randie) and James Carl Holloway. His niece, Kathleen Ann Wilhoyte Hanson, and nephews, William Cave Wilhoyte and John Welch Wilhoyte, also survive him.
Gail’s later years were spent first in Sacramento and then in Dixon, California. Along with his wife Ada, he spearheaded the special election blocking the construction of a new racetrack casino in the town of Dixon in 2007 and 2008. The “Dump the Downs” campaign succeeded in preserving the rural farming character of Dixon – something that made Gail very proud.
Gail was grateful of his good fortune and donated to over 50 charities. An avid bridge player, Gail enjoyed weekly games and kept up with periodic bridge classes. He also square danced, gardened and was an excellent correspondent to friends, sending frequent cards and notes.
Always interested in new things, he was also a voracious reader, took Spanish classes and tutored English as a second language. Although an engineer by trade, Gail was also sensitive to the beauty of nature and the arts. He pursued watercolor painting, producing numerous beautiful works, as well as enjoying the guitar.
Gail’s final resting place is Memory Gardens in Livermore.