Robert Eyre Preston passed away at Tendercare Greenview in Alpena, Michigan on Friday, January 17, 2014 at the age of 74.
Robert was born in Ann Arbor, MI, on March 29, 1939 to William and Sarah (Eyre) Preston. He received a BA in Biology from Oberlin College and pursued his Ph.D. in amphibian ecology at St. Louis University. He was an accomplished oboist and throughout his life was devoted to both classical music and nature. He moved to Alpena in 1983 with his wife, Carolyn Koppenol, MD and youngest daughter, Jessica. For many years he was an active member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Alpena. He loved the northeastern Michigan area and was active in the Michigan Karst Conservancy as well as the local Audubon Society. He was employed as a Biology instructor at Alpena Community College for a few years but more recently had been very involved at the University of Michigan Herbarium, where he was a Visiting Researcher.
At the Herbarium, he diligently worked on Michigan ferns and lycopods, specializing particularly in Botrychium and the lycopods. For some years, he provided critical determinations for specimens from all over the northeast. In addition, he provided the initial text for the Pteridophyte portion of the Michigan Flora Online: (http://www.michiganflora.net/ferns.aspx) and also conducted field work and assiduously collected ferns all over Michigan for the Herbarium. He was free with his knowledge and conducted classes and led field trips educating people about ferns.
He was preceded in death by his parents, William and Sara (Eyre) Preston. Surviving are his sister, Dr. Elizabeth Wood of Crystal Falls, MI; his three children and three grandchildren: Eric (Kim) Preston and grandson, Anders, of Madison, WI; Jennifer (Lance) McCue and granddaughters, Maxine and Chloe, of Ann Arbor; and Jessica Preston of Alpena.