The increasing encroachment of technology in our day-to-day lives has been documented by various media. For all the benefits of technology, many claim it has been hampering our lifestyle. Following a similar idea, several people of late have opted for an out-of-the-grid lifestyle. While many have taken to the jungles, there have been some who have gone toward the mountains. Eustace Conway, Tom Oar, Jake Herak, Jason Hawk, Rich Lewis, and Marty Meierotto are such men. Their adventures are carefully documented by the reality series, Mountain Men as they conquer treacherous situations, they feel more at home. And while the life they lead may be far off from an ideal life, it is an ideal life for them. One of the notable admissions from the cast of Mountain Men is Preston James Roberts who passed away in 2017. In this article, we will remember Preston Roberts’s life journey and his becoming a mountain man.
A quick introduction:
Preston Roberts was an outdoorsman, an accomplished knife builder, a naturalist, a mountain man, a retired teacher, and a former U.S air force worker. He was co-founder of “Turtle Preserve Island” alongside his friend Eustace Conway. As a person possessing many skills, Preston was also referred to as a “Jack of all trades and master of some.”
Preston James Roberts was born on the 17th of July 1957, in Westfield, New Jersey, United States to parents Eston Eugene and Dorothy James Harrington. Born in New Jersey, Preston lived in Bevered North Carolina starting at some point in his childhood and attended school there. Although his love for the outdoors was imminent as a child he could not afford to attend summer camps because of his financial situation. And one summer he did attend the camp only because of a scholarship granted by the school.
Preston undertook his early education at East Wilkes High & Brevard Sr. High. After completing high school, Preston studied at the Atlantic Christian College followed by Appalachian State University where he graduated with a degree in Art Education. During his time in college, he met his future best friend Eustace Conway.
Meeting Eustace Conway & Turtle Island Preserve:
In the later years of his life, Preston was often associated with his friend and partner Eustace Conway. The pair met back in 1982 and bonded by riding horses. The duo together attended Appalachian State University and shared the idea of living by nature. Different from the bunch, while in college the duo even lived in Teepee. Later the pair founded Turtle Island Preserve which is located at Little Laurel Road, Boone, North Carolina. Preston first came to know about the Preserve initiative from Eustace. And as a person with a belief in the preservation of the environment, Preston was soon interested to work for it.
Both Eustace and Preston served as educators at the reserve while also working on the board of directors. The preserve offers different programs, camping, and learning experience to people looking for a way of living by nature. Preserve goes by the motto: “We live, teach, breathe and believe in nature’s governing truths.”
Not only talented in the mountain way of life Preston also was good-natured and would often hold his silence unless he needed to speak.
Preston began his career as a teacher and worked at the Wikes County School for 25 years. During his time at school, he would forge knives and sell them in order to provide camping scholarships for students who wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. Preston also provided service for U.S. army air force although how long he was associated is unknown.
Even though involved in multiple career works, it was his love for nature that helped Preston gain fame. The man always worked for the preservation of the environment and his work at the Turtle Island Preserve is often highlighted. The preserve was featured in episodes of Mountain Men which showed Eustace and Preston doing normal chores. Preston made his Mountain Men debut in 2012 during Season 1 episode 3 titled “Lost.” He appeared in 64 episodes until his passing in 2017. After his death, showrunners used his archive footage in four episodes in 2018.
Passing & Cause of death:
Preston Robert died of cancer on July 24, 2017, at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Preston only found out about his condition at a very late stage as he was diagnosed with an outgrowth in his liver which was inoperable. He passed away just three weeks after diagnosis. Following his sudden demise, tributes honoring Preston poured from around the world. His life was celebrated by fans, family, and closest friends. Eustace Conway poured his grief on social media after losing his closest friend and aid. Both Turtle Island Preserve and Wikes County School, issued official statements celebrating Preston’s life and his achievements. In response to the support and condolences, Preston’s wife Kathleen and their children took to Facebook previously used by Preston to thank them for being there during the hard times.
“I always left internet communications up to Preston, but a heartfelt thank you goes out to everyone who has reached out after his unexpected and sudden passing. We were all blindsided by this experience and it has been very challenging to respond individually to the many kind condolences. Please let this serve as a response to all, that we are appreciative and honored by your kindness.”
Wife & Kids:
Preston married his then-girlfriend Kathleen DuPont McGuire married in 1975. The pair were blessed with three lovely children and all of them were boys. The family lived a happy life in a quaint log cabin by the banks of the East Fork River.
This is an update on an article published on September 1, 2020, at 5:04 am Universal time.