BROCKWAY — Robert Thomas Preston was born July 28, 1939, in Poland, Ohio, to Harry and Elaine Preston. His father was the great-great-grandson of one-time Brockway lumber baron Norman B. Lane.
Bob grew up in Brockway, graduating from high school in 1957.
Always a worker, his first job was a Sunday newspaper route around town for more than five years, and he then made ice cream for Pop Galbreath’s Dairy Store. He helped to pick up popcorn at Joe Kosko’s movie theater as well. He spent three years in the U.S. Army where he served as an honor guard and was in the vehicle pool. This qualified him for his active participation in the Parson-Marnati American Legion Post in later years. He worked for the water company, in the woods with Fremer’s, tended bar at the S.O.I. Club and at the Horton Sportsman Club, and was an all-around handyman for Bob Schuckers in the Main Street Gulf Service Station.
He loved to search the surrounding fields and woodlands for seasonal mushrooms and blackberries.
He married Martha Fremer on Jan. 4, 1969. They had four children: Roxi, Denver “Bo,” Danielle and Robert Jr.
Bob went to work at the Brockway Glass plant in 1973 and retired from there in 2001 as a hot-end operator at Plant One. That opened the door for him to follow all his other passions for life on a full-time basis.
He continues to be a strong supporter of the American Legion with his role of organizing the local Honor Squad for military funeral services and other programs. He ranks these activities as highest on his agenda and steps forward immediately when a request for services comes in, whether to honor the life of a veteran or to provide information for public recognition of the military. In better weather, it is very common to find Bob walking around local cemeteries checking on the presence of grave markers and the condition of those markers, arranging for replacements as needed. In the spring of the year, he will check local cemeteries for missing military flag markers and will make sure all are in place for Memorial Day.
He trained himself to be an instructor for Hunter Education and continued to conduct classes for a quarter of a century. He was named “Instructor of the Year” for Pennsylvania for two different years, in 1995 and in 2003. He always brought his personal touch into the course and still has his “bag of materials and plans” all packed and ready to hit the trail at a moment’s notice.
He actively participates with the activities of the Brockway Kaimanns and the St. Tobias Roman Catholic Church. He used to golf but has retired from that for more sedentary things like following Nascar and college wrestling, but still likes to look for mushrooms and blackberries where they are still growing in native locations around the area.
His very best adventures have been involved in raising his four kids and living with their kids; vacations spent at the beach, especially at Virginia Beach; and hunting with the boys. When questioned about his community, Bob quickly responds, ‘I love Brockway, and I hope to continue here with a long and happy life.”