Friends and family gathered at Turtle Island Preserve near the town of Boone in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains on Saturday to pay tribute to the teacher, father, husband, and renowned outdoorsman.
Fans have also rushed to pay tribute to Preston in their thousands after he passed away on Monday last week following a battle with cancer.
A poignant photo of the memorial celebration was posted on the Facebook page of fellow Mountain Men star and Preston’s close friend Eustace Conway.
It showed his hand-made casket, draped in the American flag, being transported through the forest on a horse and cart driven by Eustace.
Desere Anderson, who worked alongside Preston at Turtle Island Preserve, penned an emotional message alongside the picture thanking people who had flooded people close to Preston with messages of love and support.
She said: “Our hearts are still so full of sadness with a loss so profound. We are all spokes in a wheel, but occasionally there are the hubs…and that was what he was to us.”
Friends, Its Desere here. Yesterday we planted our brother in the ground, like a seed. We cried over his hand-made…
A fundraising page has been set up by Eustace to raise money for Preston’s family including to pay for a roof for the family home which Preston was in the process of fixing.
It is still possible to donate, and the gofundme campaign has already far surpassed its target as hundreds of friends and fans offer their support.
The expert woodsman, who leaves behind his beloved wife Kathleen, was one of the most-loved characters on Mountain Men and features on this week’s episode alongside Eustace, who he has known since 1983.
Footage from the episode sees Preston joining Eustace as he trades hog-meat for bee hives to help with pollination, before they try to transport them home without damaging them.
Protect the bees at all costs.
Posted by Mountain Men on Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Mountain Men airs Thursdays at 9/8c on History.