Stephen B. Preston

Stephen B. Preston, associate dean emeritus and professor emeritus of natural resources, died Nov. 30 of lung cancer.

Preston joined the U-M in 1951 after earning a master’s and a doctoral degree in wood science and technology from Yale University following military service in World War II. He held various teaching and administrative positions here until retiring in 1984, including chair of the Department of Wood Science and Technology and of the Department of Resource Planning and Conservation, and associate and interim dean.

His numerous publications include research and technical articles on the physical and mechanical properties of wood.

He was chair of the Division of Wood Utilization for the Society of American Foresters and was on the Forest Sciences board. He chaired the Great Lakes and the National Division of Drying, Anatomy and Properties of Wood of the Forest Products Research Society, and also served on the executive board of that organization.

A founding member of the Society of Wood Science and Technology, Preston served as president twice and received the organization’s Merit Award in 1992. He served as executive director of the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS), a consortium of U.S. and Costa Rican universities and research organizations with field headquarters in Costa Rica. He also was on the OTS executive committee and served as president for two years.

Preston’s consulting work included site visitations for the National Science Foundation and technical assistance to industries, and he was a senior consultant to the Forestry Division of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in Rome, Italy. He also provided consultation on educational program development in Liberia and Nigeria; environmental impact assessment in Gabon, West Africa; and industrial development assessment in Costa Rica.

He is survived by his wife, H. Katherine; two sons, Des and Boylan; grandchildren Willis and Shena; and sister, Connie Stone.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Organization for Tropical Studies-North American Office, c/o Donald Stone, Box 90632, Durham NC 27708. Friends may wish to plant a tree in his memory.


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