Ruth Allene Preston

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Ruth Allene Preston, 87, of Utopia died on Dec. 27, 2013, at the Medina Valley Health and Rehabilitation Center in Castroville. She was born on Jan. 14, 1926, in Tarpley to Lillian Beatrice Billings Tyra and John Marshall Tyra. Preston grew up around the Tarpley and Medina areas, and later moved to Utopia where her father ranched on the Pilot Ranch. She graduated from Utopia High School on May 22, 1943. She attended Trinity University that fall then transferred to Texas State College for Women from 1945-46. She met U.S. Marine, Jack Bane Preston, and they were married on July 14, 1946, in Ft. Worth. They had two children, Ruth Ann Preston Hunter and Jack Bane Preston Jr. She and her husband ranched north of Utopia near Vanderpool, from 1946-68. They then sold the ranch and bought a small acreage south of Utopia. In 1962, Preston’s desires to be a teacher led her to finish her Bachelor’s of Science degree in elementary education. She graduated from Sul Ross State University in May 1963. She applied for her first teaching job that fall at Utopia Independent School District and taught for seven years under L.L. Tubbs and O.T. Sears. She then transferred to Sabinal ISD for one year, and then to Bandera ISD in 1980, where she taught for eight years, before returning to the school she loved so much, Utopia ISD. She taught there from 1988 until she retired in 1997. According to the family, children were her love and she wanted every child to succeed to the best of their ability. The family said there was always time for a hug and a smile on the playground, that she always strived to accommodate parents and all their concerns, and was a passionate and gentle soul who cared about others. In 1985, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and was blessed with a complete recovery. Ten years later, she was stricken with a heart attack and four bypasses. She was determined to heal and start back to school in August. She returned to the classroom and continued teaching until the age of 78. Preston was a 50-year member of the Order of the Eastern Star, member of the Garden Club and the United Methodist Church, all of Utopia. Cooking for her family brought her great joy and family was the center of her life, according to the family. She was preceded in death by her parents; and husband. She is survived by one daughter, Ruth Ann Hunter and husband, Larry, of Lubbock; one son, Jack Preston Jr. and wife, Becky, of San Antonio; one brother, John Tyra of Lake Hills; four grandchildren, Wende Preston of San Antonio, Holly Bratland and husband, Tim, of Willow Lake, S.D., Jodee Preston of San Antonio and Laura Jackson and husband, Caleb, of Orange; four great-grandchildren, Morgan Bratland, Katelynn Welch, Chase Bratland and Shane Bratland; one niece, Lisa Greer and husband, Lawrence; and one nephew, Kevin Tyra; and several great-nieces and great-nephews. Funeral services were held on Dec. 29 at 2 p.m. at the Utopia United Methodist Church. Interment followed in Jones Cemetery. Pallbearers were Howard Billings, Tim Bratland, Lawrence Greer, Caleb Jackson, David Rainey and Lonnie Shelton. The family requests memorials be made to Utopia ISD, P.O. Box 880, Utopia, TX 78884. RUSHING-ESTES-KNOWLES MORTUARY, WWW.REKFUNERALS.COM
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