September 4, 1917 - August 8, 2021
"I love you all so much"~Preston Preston Earl Mitchell was born Sept. 4, 1917 in the upstairs bedroom of the family home in Homer, Michigan. In 1918, his father contracted the Spanish flu during the pandemic and was ill for most of that year and unable to work. To help his health recover, the whole family including Grandpa and Grandma Mitchell drove out west to Whittier, California and settled there in 1919. Little sister Barbara Jean was born in 1923. Preston attended Whittier High School, Fullerton Junior College, and Whittier College, majoring in music, and graduating in 1940. The Mitchell family were very fond of hiking, camping, and going on day trips and picnics. Preston especially loved Yosemite, hiking to the top of Yosemite Falls, Glacier Point, and Half Dome. The Mitchell family was also very musical, his father and mother attended Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio, his father and grandmother were organists, his father was an excellent pianist and singer, his mother a coloratura soprano, and his sister Barbara was a violinist and singer. Preston could play almost any instrument including clarinet, flute, sousaphone, tuba, string bass, recorder, ocarina, and he even had a khene that he ordered and had shipped home during a trip to Thailand. After graduation, Preston taught music in several elementary schools, private music lessons, and participated in the East Whittier Friends Church Choir. In 1942 Preston enlisted in the Army Air Corps and played in the March Field 4th Air Force Band playing at many venues and on the Armed Services Radio. He married Cora Morgan in 1942 whom he had met at Whittier College, also a music major. The Air Force band was “disbanded” and he was relocated first to Spokane, Washington and then on to a Liberty ship bound for Okinawa. He was a bugler and 2 ½ ton truck driver on Okinawa, but WWII ended so his stay on the island was fairly peaceful. When Preston returned home after the war, he decided to study photography at Fred Archer’s School of Photography. Fred Archer was a colleague of Ansel Adams at the Art Center in Los Angeles, so Preston learned many of Ansel Adams techniques. In 1951, Cora and Preston adopted daughter Meredith at age 5 months. Three years later they adopted daughter Tamara at age 1 month. After completing photo school, Preston worked for two commercial photographers in the Southern California area, learning to light and shoot products, worked swing shift for North American Aviation enlarging and printing thousands of prints, Foster and Kleiser shooting billboard locations, then sharing a studio with a wonderful man who became a close friend, Andy Cummings. Preston eventually opened his own studio in the 1960’s and became a well-known commercial photographer in the Los Angeles area, retiring to Medford, Oregon in 1989. Cora and Preston sponsored a Korean and a Vietnamese immigrant through the Friends Church and became close friends and very active in the Vietnamese community in Whittier. Preston called Rogue Valley Manor his home until his death this year. Cora died in 1992. Preston became known and loved throughout the Rogue Valley for his participation in many bands including the New Horizons Band, Ashland City Band, the Dixie Fat Cats Dixieland Band, The Sauerkrauts German Band, and a recorder group. He entered and won the Silver Stars Competition in Medford several years, delighting the audience with his impish performances on pan pipes, ocarina, and story-telling. He continued hiking and taking adventures in Southern Oregon taking thousands of photographs of nature and events, sharing his talents in photo shows in venues locally including the Craterian Theater. Every year he would take a grand car trip to Southern California, stopping to visit and reconnect with old friends and relatives along the way. Other times, he would hop in his van and head North to Washington to visit friends up there. Preston read Kenneth Cooper’s book “Aerobics” in 1968 and became an avid exercise enthusiast from that point onward. He would get up early and run, joined a running group at the YMCA, would ride his 10-speed bike to the studio and home daily for many years, and logged thousands of laps in the Rogue Valley Manor pool over the years, only discontinuing swimming when the pool was closed for COVID in 2020. Although longevity runs in his family, his devotion to staying active and fit likely added 10 years to his life and certainly kept him strong, pain-free, and mentally sharp until his final days. Preston is survived by his sister Barbara Jean Koch in Tucson, Arizona, his two daughters, Meredith Bosserman and Tamara Mitchell, Meredith’s husband Vern Bosserman, four granddaughters, Christina, Laura, Lisa, and Carolyn, 9 great grandchildren, and Barbara Jean’s children Joanne Whitman, Patricia Christian, and Ronald Tebbetts. In lieu of flowers the family requests that you make a donation to one of the following nonprofits or a cause of your choice that would have meaning to Preston. Rogue Valley Manor Foundation 1200 Mira Mar Medford, OR 97504 541-857-7366 TID: 93-0712867 Asante Foundation – End of Life/Hospice https://asantefoundation.org/donate/ Yosemite Conservancy https://yosemite.org/donate/join-us/?appeal=odev&package=web
"I love you all so much"~Preston Preston Earl Mitchell was born Sept. 4, 1917 in the upstairs bedroom of the family home in Homer, Michigan. In 1918, his father contracted the Spanish flu during the pandemic and was ill for... View Obituary & Service Information
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